Monday, March 05, 2007

How Starbucks Strayed

A lack of imperfection is how Starbucks lost its soul - and coffee house experience. It is now officially the McDonald's of its business. Starbuck's, and its classically trained leadership has turned Starbuck's once powerful brand equity into a "Milder Dimension." The brand is on the brink of being totally perceptually sanitized. No different than the conflict between Swift-Eckrich smoked sausage and those of rival Kahn's Hillshire Farm. Kahn's products are made by farmers in blue jeans and flannel shirts while Swift-Eckrich products are made by lab technicians in starched white coats ... according to in-depth consumer studies, this fate also befalls Wells Fargo versus Washington Mutual. Wells bankers are "the suits" while WAMU "neighbors" are the nice guys from Seattle in jeans and flannel shirts. How many times does history have to repeat itself before companies have to stop learning things all over again for the very first time?

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