Sunday, June 22, 2008

A 16 Year Old's Advice on Building a Brand

So I'm driving down the road with my 16 year old daughter. Somehow, we got on the topic of coffee places. And she makes the following observation:

    One reason I don't like Java City is that the person behind the counter doesn't always know how to make the drink I want. The taste of their coffee is way better than Starbuck's, but sometimes the person who helps you says "I don't know how to do that. Let me get the person. Just a sec. And then it takes ten minutes to get your drink."

    Most people don't like the taste of Starbuck's coffee as much as some other place. But at least at Starbucks, everyone can make everything.

The girl's got something there.

Look at the big Starbuck's picture. If you blind-folded people and gave them something to drink, no one would choose cheap coffee beans quick-roasted and burnt.

Mix it with a bunch of milk, caramel, sugar, and syrup. Now you have a competent drink that lots of people can enjoy.

Why is Starbuck's a success?

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency.

You can order a double grande froo-froo frapacino with a shot of vanilla in Sacramento, Los Angeles, New York, or London. And you'll get the same drink. And the same atmosphere. And the same music. And the same chatter. You'll be offered the same gum and chocolates at checkout.

The same. The same. The same.

Starbuck's doesn't have to offer the best food, the best coffee, or even the best mints. They have the best experience. They consistently offer the best experience.

Remember the old truism. People buy for emotional reasons and justify their decision with rationalities.

On any day, anybody can make an excellent cup of coffee. But it takes a system to make millions of cups of coffee every day that are consistently good. And it takes a system to get 90% of those people to come back within a week to order the same thing again.

What do you offer your clients? An excellent one-time experience, or a consistent good experience that you can repeat as many times as necessary?

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