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The Phenomenon of Starbucks
$8 Dollar Coffee! Just think about that for a moment. No really, take a moment and get your mind around that fact.
I’ll be fully transparent here; I am NOT a legitimate expert on coffee since I drink it rarely. However, taking notice of many people, and perhaps even you, think of it as the essential element to their day and they wouldn’t dream of being without it.
Where does the explosive success known as Starbucks come from? How is it that people will line up outside and wait on a regular basis for their favorite location to open its doors in the morning and pay up to the aforementioned price for a single cup of coffee?
Now we could examine all of the psychological and behavioral causes that surely translate into some of the massive demand for coffee. That would only prove the point that it’s no fluke coffee shops and every other places that which sales it enjoy a very high demand business.
What we really want to know is how and what does Starbucks deliver that makes it such a phenomenon in the marketplace.
A sense of community is probably the fundamental answer. Have you ever heard of the preverbal sketch on the back of a napkin that turns into a successful business enterprise? Then you have an insight into how the right atmosphere and ambiance of like-minded people sipping on their hot mocha latte can create such a phenomenon!
In other words, I’m suggesting there are a number of powerful yet largely intangible elements found at the local Starbucks coffee shop that are uniquely powerful and persuasive in allowing the kinds of price points for its products served to its extremely enthusiastic and loyal customers.
During the period of its most remarkable achievements, Starbucks nearly succumb to its own fabulous success! The drive for profits and expansion just like many American companies in the early and mid 2000’s began colliding with the values and core principles it was founded upon.
In a rare display of commitment to an original idea, their founder and CEO Howard Schultz returned to the position after 8 years of retirement to right the ship and reestablish what made the brand great.
Through a series of painstaking decisions and heartbreaking closures of nearly 600 stores at the worse point of the slumping 2008 economy, he and his team regained their footing. While that is an admirable feat, it gave birth to something arguably much greater.
Inspired by a phone call, during this time, informing him that his former high school, a previously prominent school in New York, was closing due to a 30 percent dropout rate, Howard had an epiphany.
He determined that his return to Starbuck as its CEO would not only be for turning around a once great company back to its prominence. He was determined he would use the opportunity as a platform to challenge his peers in the business community and leaders across the educational system to do the same!
Through a sequence of partnerships, he connected with organizations that have made remarkable commitments to stamp out high school drop out rates and redirect the course of education in America.
The experience of his dream enterprise nearly crumbling due to misaligned values and priorities was a clear call to action! Using sincere passion and focus he is forging a leardership voice in the movement to charge and compel business to redirect and invest expertise and profit toward improving across the board education in America.
A great example of this is the collaboration with Choose.org. Started by a teacher in Bronx, NY in 2000. The intent was to collect best practices from teachers and distribute them throughout the city. Ten years later is serving all public schools throughout the country. In addition they have been responsible for raising more $55 million dollars to benefit over 138,000 projects and help nearly 3.5 million students.
Another very high profile relationship is with MSNBC ‘s Morning Joe of which Starbucks is a major sponsor. Primarily an award winning political new show, they have crafted an alliance to raise awareness and as well as highlight up and coming teachers and schools which are doing great work to transform and reinvent education around the country. There are many others examples.
For more information take a look at Howard Schultz's new book release entitled Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul.
Once again, Starbucks, by returning to its foundations of customer centered focus, creative problem solving solutions. They are not only creating great tasting coffee but restoring a place where great community values, successful individual outcomes and terrific customer service inspire people to pull out up to 8 dollars for just one cup!
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