Thursday, April 16, 2009
Down Goes Starbucks 2
I've had a ton of people contacting me about last weeks post, Down Goes Starbucks. So, I thought I'd expand a bit on some of the conversation I've been having with people about it.
Starbucks has lost site of what they are selling. People do not show up to buy a $5 cup of coffee. They became loyal to a $1.50 cup of coffee in a value pack with a $20 experience for the low price of $5. When they buy the pack, they just associate it with the cup of coffee. The coffee is great but not the real reason the company took off so fast. There are other places that make great coffee. Starbucks thought people loved the coffee so found a more efficient way to focus on getting more coffee into more hands when in the very process they eliminated the reason people bought it. This is a mistake that's easy to make in any organization.
For instance take many of the large churches that have sprung up in around the country in the last 15 years or so. They coupled an awesome, eye and attention grabbing worship service with a great spoken message and a plethora of activities members could get involved in. They grow and ad other locations or worship times. Next thing you know, they have members that are extremely diversified and the only thing they absolutely have in common is the spoken message they hear. So, that becomes the only common ground it's members are sure to share. The speaker is the coffee. Great but not the only great speaker out there. Next thing you know, though, the organization is finding a more efficient way to get that speaker into the hands of as many people as possible. This means cutting some of the intangible things that created the community that really drew the people in the first place.
The organization begins to plateau as the arrival of newcomers slows and only the nostalgic remain to fantasize about the days past. They are lucky enough to have made relationships when community was a huge focus. Whereas those newcomers rarely stick due to lack of programs and activities to help them plug in.
What are your customers really buying? Is it your product, service, relationship, atmosphere, memories created, or some other intangible. Focus on that, even if it's not what they talk about, it may be that which can't be measured that's truly bringing them in.