Howard Schultz: “Onward”

So Howard’s people sent me a review copy of his book today. One assumes that reaching out to marketing bloggers was part of the launch strategy (I’m all in favor of that!) I was also interested to see copies of his book floating around Starbucks outlets (hey, if you have a massive retail footprint, why not use it?)

I confess I have not yet read the book but please check back for some deathless prose on the subject!

Here’s the blurb:

ONWARD
How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul
by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
March 29, 2011, Rodale

In 2008, Howard Schultz made the unprecedented decision to return as the CEO eight years after he stepped down from daily oversight of the company and became chairman. Concerned that the Starbucks experience had been compromised by its quest for growth, Schultz was determined to help it return to its core values and restore its financial health. In ONWARD, he shares the remarkable story of his return and the company’s ongoing transformation under his leadership, revealing how, during one of the most tumultuous economic times in history, Starbucks again achieved profitability and sustain­ability.

Schultz not only had to act fast and aggressively on a global scale, but had to look in the mirror, confront the company’s blemishes and search for answers to such hard questions as:

·    How can you evolve your brand—especially an iconic one—to be relevant to a new age while being true to its roots?
·    How can you grow a company without losing an intimate relationship with each customer
·    How can you revive your employees’ passion for your company’s founding principles?

There was no easy roadmap and plenty of risks. From a leaked memo that exposed Starbucks’ troubles to the world, to the costly decision to close all Starbucks stores for a day of retraining, to introducing an aggressive pipeline of new innovations to land the next blockbuster offering, ONWARD takes readers through the tough decisions and painful steps of a turnaround that should inspire anyone to reinvent themselves and triumph against the odds.

Well alright then! Sounds like a page-turner. In general I am an admirer of Starbucks marketing, so I think I will make a valiant attempt to read it.

To show what a stand-up guy I am, and as a thanks to Howie for the book, here’s a link to buy it on Amazon.

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Starbucks “Stealth” Stores, McCafe Halo…

Starbucks has ditched its branding on three trial stores and redesigned them to resemble independent local cafes. The trial, which is running in the coffee giant’s home city of Seattle, uses the address of the cafe in its branding. For example one is called 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea. In addition the products sold are also non-branded. Starbucks senior vice president Tim Pfeiffer said the new stores aimed to reflect the local community more than the chain’s regular stores currently did. One of the trial outlets will feature poetry readings and live music.
starbucks escher
Photo Credit: Bean Activist

Starbucks Credits McD’s, Cost Savings for Sales Improvement
Starbucks Coffee Co. appears to be coming out of freefall — thanks, in part, to marketing by McDonald’s. In a third-quarter-earnings call this afternoon, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz credited margin improvements, cost savings and attention brought to the category by its rival’s big-budget McCafe launch with helping to improve Starbucks’ same-store sales. The chain’s same-store sales fell 6% during its fiscal third quarter in the U.S., but that still bests the prior quarter, when same-store sales were down 8%.

mccafe

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Unsnobbycoffee, Moss Art

  • While Starbucks has cut jobs and stores this year, McDonald’s has been launching regional marketing to roll out its new specialty coffee drinks. In Seattle, the chain zeros in on coffee aficionados with its website, unsnobbycoffee.com. There, users can stage an intervention for friends who are “addicted to snobby iced espresso.” As Ad Age food reporter Emily Bryson York explains, it might take more than savings for McDonald’s to convert Seattle’s java elite.
  • dirty mcdonalds

  • It’s Nice That points us to a lovely bit of public art that just went up yesterday in London: The Mossberger Project by Anna Garforth uses moss as a tactile typeface, a sort of eco-grafitti that can be placed on walls, floors and other public spaces. Mossberger illustrates a verse from an Eleanor Stevens poem on a brick wall near Clissold Park in London. The project is part of YCN LIVE, a two-week long public and participatory art initiative currently underway in London. From the artist’s website: “Being interested in public art and ecology, it led me to thinking about sustainable grafitti. I collected a common moss that grows well on brick walls and glued it to the wall using a mixture of natural (bio active) yoghurt and sugar.” Mossberger will be on view until September 5th and continues on throughout London until September 7th.
  • moss art