Posts Tagged ‘brand’

WSJ: A Substitute’s Sacrifice

steveparkhurst | December 21, 2012 in Branding,Earned Media,Marketing | Comments (0)

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Wall Street Journal - The Parkhurst Group

The Wall Street Journal today has a very touching story.

Last week’s mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut has gotten plenty of news coverage, as it should. But, the underlying stories will be of those who lost someone. We will hear from them at every anniversary of that day for years to come.

One of the adults who fell victim last week was a young woman who worked some days as a substitute teacher, and she spent other hours working at a local Starbucks. The young woman, Lauren Rousseau, is recounted in the story by messages from her co-workers on a store display, and by interviews with customers who knew her, chatted with her and laughed with her.

Here is part of the story:

“I saw her face. I realized that was her,” said Erik Granfors, a regular at the location. “She probably served me a hundred cups of coffee.”

Ms. Rousseau, 30 years old, was a substitute teacher at the school and kept her part-time coffee job for the steady income and health benefits she lacked. As she was mourned Thursday by loved ones at a church four miles away, Starbucks customers scrawled eulogies on a memorial set up by her co-workers.

“Always looked forward to our talks,” said a message left on the poster boards perched in the middle of the store. The makeshift display included hand-written notes, a Mickey Mouse doll and a single electric candle.

Patrick Austin, 44, remembered ordering his cappuccinos from Ms. Rousseau, and finding her among the slain came as a shock. “She just had a great, outgoing personality,” he said.

“People are part of your life and you don’t realize it until they’re gone,” agreed Mr. Granfors, 41. “You do have sorrow even if they weren’t a close acquaintance.”

This is pretty powerful. From a business perspective, and I don’t mean to diminish anyone here, this is a great reflection of what it is that Starbucks represents. Starbucks wants to be your Third Place, that place you go after home or work. They also want their employees, or associates, to act as a family and work as a team. The layout of the store equipment is chosen for conversation between patrons and associates. It is those types of conversations that have an impact, that leave an impression.

For a barista to have left this sort of an imprint in the minds of her customers, this is a true testament to her, to her customers, and to a coffee giant that has always looked to do more than just sell cups of coffee.


The Power of Display and Brand

steveparkhurst | November 29, 2012 in Advertising,Promotional,Visual | Comments (0)

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Let’s say you somehow happened upon some frosted snowman cookies, neatly stacked in a plastic container, turned and rotated properly so the package contained as many cookies as practical. And the entire package was wrapped in cellophane and has a label with nutrition information. You could also possibly find a loaf of banana walnut bread wrapped and labeled. This is kind of what those items would look like:

Starbucks Cookies - The Parkhurst Group

Now, let’s pretend you are standing in line at your local Starbucks, ready to order your favorite drink,and you stare into the pastry case. This is what you would see:

Starbucks Cookies Display - The Parkhurst Group         Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread - The Parkhurst Group

That’s the power of having the Starbucks brand behind your item. I’ve never been under the illusion that Starbucks pastries are actually prepared in the stores, I have afterall read Howard Schultz’s Onward, and I know the items are prepared at another location and delivered to the stores. But, it is still amazing to me to see what the power of the brand and a nice display can do.