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Starbucks remake redux

The Starbucks Story continues as many people continue to chime in on how to “save” the franchise. In my previous Starbuck’s post, I looked at brand premiumness to see where we might find an answer to Starbuck’s ills. BusinessWeek’s Bruce Nussbaum latest column “OnDesign” points to a radical suggestion by Pentagram’s Jim Biber to tackle a tangential point on the “premiumness” of the Starbuck’s franchise.

Let’s look at Jim’s thought provoking make over suggestions:
1. “*$” instead of Starbucks – neat and cute, but a negative connotation if there is ever one. Probably tongue-in-cheek, still, I don’t think the need to dump the Starbuck’s name unless one truly believes it can’t be salvaged from the poor image surrounding the brand. May be it’s worth putting it out for bid amongst the world’s Top 10 Ad agencies and see what they come up with. Let it be a winner-takes-all competition. That’s sure worth a lot of $!
2. Time and Motion – this consideration has a lot going for it. It goes to the heart of the “customer experience” for Starbucks. The key question is to choose which customer experience it wants to focus on. It can’t serve the serious leisure coffee lovers and also serve the on-the-go coffee drinkers. The latter probably best served by the faster McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts franchises. Serving all means serving none from a customer branding perspective. Take a stand, draw the line in the sand and take on that identity. Starbucks doesn’t have an identity now and that’s contributed mightily to it’s crisis.

But if Starbucks wants to cater to both, it might be worth it to have two types of stores –
a) the “take away” window booth where it’s pure coffee assembly line and truly for the masses and
b) have Jim’s concept store for the serious leisure coffee lovers.

3. Architecture – enhancing the coffee lover’s experience. This is radical and highly creative. Can one reinvent a coffee lover environment that accentuates the individuality of the coffee drinker and promotes the relationship between the drinker and his/her coffee?

To me, finding the key to this is Starbuck’s step toward rebirth and reinvention of itself.

Stay tuned as the coffee drips….

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