Coffee and cookies

Decoding Branding – What can we learn from Starbucks and Cookies.

Arguably, Starbucks is one of the “stickiest” brands out there. Everyone from the age of 4 and up, knows Starbucks. Like my daughter (not a coffee drinker yet) loves Starbucks, and gets very excited when she sees their green circle of logo every time we go travelling. Starbucks is “everywhere.”

Naturally, it takes time and dedication to build that kind of brand stickiness (i.e. recognition), and they have put a lot of effort in it, but what are they doing now to preserve the image and to continue to nurture the brand?

As we know the work is never done, when it comes to branding.

Show-off your brand in your actions.

You know how Starbucks partnered with La Boulange to provide freshly-baked goodies? One of the “brand promises” is “warmly served” and it is being used in their marketing and branding. Lovely graphic design and a yummy, appealing messaging, right? So how do they live this promise?

A few weeks ago I noticed something different about my experience at Starbucks. Every time I would order a cookie or a browny, the barista would ask me if I wanted it be warmed up. When they asked me that for the first time, I was so happy, and commented that no one ever asked me that. To warm up a browny? What a novice idea! Yum! I was happy with the barista, and thought “what a nice guy” he was to offer that to me.

When the same thing kept happening over and over with other baristas, then I clued in (cue in Scooby Doo tune here)! Of course, I am sure all the baristas at Starbucks are “nice guys”, but building a solid, sustainable brand is not going to get you far on just “being nice”. You must be strategic about it. 

Building a solid, sustainable brand is not going to get you far on just 'being nice'. You must be strategic about it. Click To Tweet

As trivial as it sounds. Now, it’s obvious, that all employees at Starbucks had a specific (brand vs customer experience) training, and have been instructed from now on, to always ask to warm up the cookies. So it is literally and figuratively – warmly served. Yum.

Starbucks branding

So, how do you build a brand that is sustainable and recognizable? By noticing every little detail in your customer’s experience. By training your stuff (EVEN on those obvious things), and by being consistent over and over and over again.

Happy branding!