Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Open Letter to Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks

Dear Howard:

I am a big Starbucks fan, but I have to tell you that I am not a fan of your new brand positioning and marketing tactics. We all know that you have a major crisis on your hand, but I think the tactics you are using are focused upon the wrong underlying issues.

Here's how I see it:

  • Low Hanging Fruit: The US Economy is in a recession and every financial planner and their brother is telling their clients to cut out Starbucks out of their budget - easy $80 to $100 / month savings.
  • Coffee Grade A / Food Grade C-: Your coffee is great, but your food stinks. The food tastes like it has been frozen out of some commissary hundreds of miles away. Your food needs to be upgraded.
  • Great Brand, Take a Leadership Role: I heard Tom Brokaw speak at my brother's graduation about "The Greatest Generation." Lever your brand to help the US create another Greatest Generation. This is not a political position, but a true patriot / leadership position.
  • Running Scared: The changes to your marketing appear more like you are running scared than making smart decisions. I bought an iced coffee venti coffee for somewhere around $2.65 and was offered a coupon for another iced coffee grande iced drink after 2 pm for $2.00. I just could not see the value proposition to me, the customer here, to come back for a coupon worth roughly $0.20.
  • McDonald's is not the Enemy, the Indulgent Perception of Your Brand is: People are on tight budgets and they have a perception that a cup of Starbucks is an unnecessary and unwise indulgence. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE.
I wish you luck with your current situation, unfortunately the wind is at your bow and you need to tack. I would be happy to discuss these issues further with you or your team.

Best regards,

Jonathan B Smith
Loyal Starbucks' Supporter

No comments:

Post a Comment