Posted by Anthony Zumpano on November 13, 2009 10:55 AM
Once Starbucks reached its saturation point (one location on practically every block), it had nowhere else to go but down – and that’s exactly where it went. Stores were underperforming, the stock price plummeted, and the brand was forced into a steamed-milk showdown when the McCafé coffeehouse concept began brewing front and off-center at most McDonald’s restaurants.
But less than two years after Howard Schultz returned as CEO, following an eight-year hiatus, Starbucks’ future looks as sweet as a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino.
Every brand experiences growing pains, and Starbucks, which opened new locations at an arguably pathological rate, was no exception. Speaking at Thursday’s Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, Schultz felt his brand lost its focus after 15 years of infallibility: “Somehow, along the way, the level of that feeling” – the love inspired by a people-based business – “got somewhat blurred by success.”Continue reading...
close of business
Posted by Peter Feld on November 12, 2009 08:57 PM
Nokia envisions mobile networks by 2015. [Mobile Behavior]
Starbucks' Via rollout too aggro for some customers and baristas. [BusinessWeek]
For holidays, e-commerce sites roll out coupons, free shipping. [Econsultancy]
Wal-Mart plans to avoid repeat of last year's deadly Black Friday. [Business Insider]
Nine-figure deals for Playdom and Playfish show soaring valuations for social gamers. [CNET]
Sarah Palin faces press to promote new $5 million book, Going Rogue. [NY Times]
Posted by Stephanie Startz on November 3, 2009 01:34 PM
After home and work, there’s Starbucks: the “third place.” At least it used to be.
As sales decline, and consumers brew at home or visit competitors, Starbucks is struggling to rebound profits. Hoping to court customers back to the brand, Starbucks has retooled their loyalty program, discontinuing the year-old “Gold” in favor of “My Starbucks Rewards.” The program will go into effect December 26.
The new loyalty card cuts the 10% discount offered by the “Gold” program, and instead offers the equivalent of a local coffee shop punch card. Where “Gold” customers had to purchase a special card for $25, the “My Starbucks Reward” program is free. Consumers can load any denomination onto a gift card, register the card to protect the balance and begin accruing “stars.” For every purchase a customer makes using the card they earn a star. As customers accrue more stars they move onto better benefit levels.Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on October 12, 2009 07:33 PM
While initial consumer reaction is warm, does Starbucks' new instant Via warrant a decaf companion?
Reporting that Via has "exceeded expectations" after two weeks on the market, Starbucks today announced a decaffeinated option to their new instant coffee line by mid-November. Hoping to further bolster fourth-quarter sales. Starbucks is offering decaf Via just in time for the holiday season.
The rational behind Via made sense. Busy professionals need a quick, portable and cheap(er) caffeine delivery system. Twenty years in development and Starbucks delivers Via, a product that promises to be all those things and taste just like Starbucks in-store drip coffee.
But does a decaffeinated instant coffee really belong in Starbucks' stable?Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on October 2, 2009 09:34 AM
Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Tokyo make final pitches for 2016 Summer Games before International Olympic Committee. [NY Times] UPDATE: Chicago and Tokyo are eliminated first, Rio is picked.
Starbucks asks consumers to realign expectations with Via. [WSJ]
Do iPhone complaints, network problems, hurt AT&T's brand? [CNET]
Will revelations about CBS Late Night host David Letterman's affair, extortion help or hinder ratings, brand? [NY Times]
In bid for NBC Universal, Comcast strives to become media empire. [NY Times]
In a surprise move, the London Evening Standard goes free of charge. [Telegraph]
(More headlines: WaPo and Bloomberg, Joop! loses trademark ruling.)Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on October 1, 2009 03:52 PM
Will Starbucks's new instant -- sorry, "ready brew" -- coffee Via get a lukewarm reception from consumers? Or is demand piping hot?
As the countdown builds toward Via's four-day "taste challenge" at Starbucks stores tomorrow through Monday, what din has Starbucks Via registered around the web?
Reviews of the four 15-second ads have been positive. Viewers responded well to the offbeat humor featuring dog people and jockeys. The "Town Hall" commercial, slyly alluding to conservative protestors, leads Mediaite to question whether conservative viewers will "have a sense of humor about themselves[?]" But the conservative blogosphere seems able to play along with the joke. Hot Air sees an element of flattery in the ads:
If the man’s so excited about Starbucks instant blend that he needs to sing out, then damn it, sing out. Frankly, the fact that townhall protests are now so thoroughly embedded in the national consciousness that a major company feels safe to parody them in paid ads is a testament to their effectiveness. On the other hand, this is Starbucks we’re talking about. Hmmmmm.
Reactions to Starbuck's instant-coffee brand extension are more skeptical.Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on September 28, 2009 04:37 PM
The ads were funnier than the show. But can the four 15-second spots Starbucks ran during Saturday Night Live's season premiere drive customers back into stores (and lift ailing stock prices)?
The delightfully nonsensical spots show taste tests conducted with town hall protesters, a jockey, a priest and a rabbi, and people who look like their dogs -- all agreeing that they can't taste the difference between Starbucks drip coffee and Starbucks Via.
Is Starbucks cannibalizing itself by positioning Via against their own product? Yes and no.Continue reading...
Posted by Stephanie Startz on September 28, 2009 08:52 AM
Wal-Mart is the "best corporate symbol of America today" in a 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair survey. [NY Times]
Procter & Gamble goes green, with large-scale marketing campaign aimed at mainstream consumers seeking sustainable versions of familiar products. [Financial Times]
French mobile operator Orange signs deal with Apple to sell iPhones in Britain in time for Christmas. [Times of London]
Sprint moves to regain market share as first telecom retailer on the 4G network. [NY Times]
Starbucks launches Via instant coffee with SNL season premiere ad barrage. [AdAge]
McDonald's eyes expansion in India with new stores and expanded value menu. [Warc]
Ford announces plans to build third car car assembly plant in China. [WSJ]
(More headlines: Gap founder dies, HSN product placements, Gucci.)Continue reading...