Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What is a Piadini?

From the Starbucks - marketing consistency files:
Starbucks has rolled out Piadini's in our neighborhood. What are they? There's a good overview from Slashfood and the Wikipedia definition. But, the way they're being marketed really interferes with Starbucks efforts to appear as your friendly neighborhood coffee shop for two main reasons.
One, they're unpronounceable. You want to add an "n" so it's pi-ad-nini. Pi-ad-eeny sounds extremely awkward - and most people are going wonder if they're anywhere near correct. So, you end up explaining to the cashier that you want one of those flatbread sandwiches, and feeling awkard while attempting to buy something from them.
Two - the headlines over the cashier, and their flyers reads "Wake up to a new toasty warm and savory delicious." That's the end of the sentence. On the flyer/brochure below that sentence, it says "Starbucks Piadini, Wrap and Breakfast Sandwiches". My first reaction on reading the sentence was - what? what's the end of the sentence? Is the piadini delicious? Or, is it a vaguely Lord of the Rings reference, rather than Gollum clutching at his "precious", a barista is hidden away, clutching at his "delicious"? And, if your acting like a homey, neighborhood coffee shop, it's difficult to envision someone actually writing this, vs. "try our great new sandwiches" or, even better, "Try Joe the baristas' favorite new sandwich". Yet again, the marketing's inconsistent, but, hey, the piadinis are actually very tasty :)

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Starbucks decaf coffee

I had a whole mental post composed about Starbucks decaf coffee, and the difficulty of finding out how much caffeine is in it. Turns out their site is much easier than I remembered it, and regular coffee has about 330mg, while decaf has 25mg. Coke has 45mg. The decaf numbers are about double what I've seen for other brands.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Best Espresso in the Neighborhood

One area of marketing I've focused on in this blog is the idea of congruency and authenticity. You should deliver an authentic experience, congruent with the image that your company and/or product represent.

I was surprised yesterday to see on the door of the Starbucks in downtown Silver Spring, a sticker saying "Best Espresso in the Neighborhood." This immediately raised a number of questions in our group, none of them positive for Starbucks.

1) We're not really part of a neighborhood, at least, not with connotation they're searching for. Downtown Silver Spring has been gentrified. The street this particular Starbucks is on, includes Potbelly, Noodles & Company, Barnes & Noble, Cake Love, a kebab place, Ben & Jerry's, and a few more chains.
2) Everyone knows Starbucks is a huge chain. Clearly, it's not a homemade sticker, of a small, beleaguered coffee shop, trying to assert its position in a competitive marketplace. They're a big brand - "Starbucks - we're the biggest coffee buyer in the world, and we bring the best coffee to you" would at least line up with who they are at this point.
3) The sticker implies a certain type of atmosphere... Maybe a small group of devoted coffee fanatics toiling away in search of coffee nirvana. This location, on the other hand, typically has a high percentage of high school students flirting with each other, crowding the store, and ordering drinks that likely contain a higher percentage of sugar than coffee.

What's interesting about this particular store, is that the people working it, are some of the nicest you'll meet in the chains locally, who manage long lines with panache. "Starbucks - good people getting you your coffee quickly" would work better :)

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Starbucks - thanks, now get out

The Washington Post had an article about Starbucks booting some homeless people who liked to buy coffee and hang out. What's interesting is the changes they've made in the newly remodeled Starbucks near my house, clearly intended from an ergonomic standpoint to look great to people who just get their coffee and walk out, but to discourage anyone from lingering. In the picture to the left is what used to be a seating space with 4 or 5 standalone tables. Now, there's a section of high backed chairs with tabletops anchored in front. It looks nice, but it puts you at an uncomfortable angle leaning back - an awful angle, if you were going to type on a laptop. The other chairs are very uncomfortable after a few minutes... In the back, where there were originally comfy couches, they have a similar approach, with chairs that are now standalone, and lean back. I wonder if there's been a corporate directive of some sort, since the store was new enough that it didn't really need to be remodeled, to try and change the brand experience as people come through.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Starbucks sales

Ever wonder how much in sales the Starbucks in your neighborhood plaza has? I had a fun conversation today, and heard some interesting facts for a November. Gross sales are a little over 100k. Brewed coffee is 15% of that, Espresso drinks 60%, and 10% is bakery sales. And, about 1% in music sales, so probably around 3 CDs a day. If you figure an average drink is $3, that's 166 coffees a day, and 688 espresso based drinks. If they're open 14 hours a day, they're averaging over one coffee drink a minute. :)

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