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Hispanics love cafe con leche

May 7, 2009

starbucksStarbucks is a great modern retailing success story, with 16,120 stores throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. The enterprising coffee chain had at one time new stores opening at a rate averaging more than one per day. Few would argue the success of the corporation. In the land of corporate titans CEO, Howard Schultz, is making his mark as a brilliant entrepreneur.

The numerous faces that litter Starbucks in Houston are as diverse as all the different nationalities that make up the life blood of this metropolitan city. As a kid growing up on the ranch I didn’t know that boiled milk with coffee was called a latté. All I knew was that it was a flavored treat from our Jersey cow. So whether you want to feel young again or want to hang out with friends Starbucks beacons a bienvenida

Many have speculated on the success of “la tiendita de cafe”. If one were to walk into a Starbucks store, could you find the elusive keys to great marketing? Does this company posses some secret “mojo” or charm that you could apply to your lackluster sales? Could it be that the secret, however, really is right under your nose? This is more than just the aroma of the great coffee served. Successful marketing can stare you in the face but be unrecognized. It’s like trying to watch a 3-D movie without the glasses.

Figuratively, let’s put on our 3D glasses and walk into that Starbucks store again. The first thing we notice is a strong aroma of freshly brewed coffee. This creates a sensory assault on the limbic system that puts the buyer into an “I’ve got to have a cup mode.” The Barista at the counter greets us warmly, making us feel welcomed. Notice the carefully constructed visual display while the order is being served. The aesthetics are further enhanced by soft music to give the buyer a contemporary greeting. All sensory modes are now in high alert. This inures the buyer to the fact that the prices are much steeper than your ordinary cup of Joe. This is definitely not your grandfather’s motif of the cozy dinner and certainly has more appeal than the fast food joint, whose coffee is half the price. But, wait, this is Starbucks! This is supposed to be expensive coffee. CEO Howard Shultz has turned brewing a cup of coffee into a science. His mission clearly declares this to all the corporate world: “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow…..” This is a grand promise that the company certainly appears to have fulfilled.

Take off your 3D glasses and look at the real story being told here. Employees are motivated to provide excellent service to patrons. Right before our eyes we see other displays of the company’s mission statement in action. “To apply the highest standard of excellence………to the delivery of our coffee.” You can test this philosophy by speaking to the manager directly. Greeting his customer warmly, he is cheerfully available to provide knowledgeable expertise to the coffee voyeur. Yes, indeed, Starbucks has passed the test. “Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time.” Business professionals have been weaned on the idea of how a business needs to have a win-win philosophy. This leads us to another aspect of Starbucks’ mission statement, “Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.” There in lies one of the most important secrets. Business is done with the win3 philosophy, the customer wins, the employee wins, and the company wins. Starbucks has done many unconventional things like providing full time benefits for part time workers in an effort to have a highly motivated and committed workforce.

As you read this story sipping on your plain cup of coffee you may wonder if it’s that plain simple. The answer is yes! Every day of our lives we as consumers choose to patronize those businesses that walk their talk. Their mission statement is much more than some set of words framed on display for all to see. A congruent organization like Starbucks lives up to their mission statement from the initial warm and friendly contact with the client all the way to the point of parting with money in exchange to goods or services

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