To be fair, Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee. They sell an experience. They sell an idea. They sell ambiance.
During the company’s boom years, almost everyone in your office probably came in with a Venti or Grande coffee cup sporting the green siren. But for many, it was more of a fashion statement than a caffeine fix.
Of course, the company made a huge profit being a fashion mocha, er, mecca. But when it was announced last week that McDonald’s had the most loyalty of any coffee brand, a lot of people were surprised, especially since McDonald’s historically has been known more for their burgers than their baristas.
To be sure, Starbucks isn’t hurting (although price increases on coffee beans have lowered their sales expectations), but such a drastic change is a good example of how tastes can change.
Can Your Company Keep Up With Change?
If you had told someone from say, 2006, that McDonald’s would be the coffee purveyor of choice, they most likely would have laughed at you. But, considering McDonald’s metamorphosis from burger joint to salad king and everything in between, on second thought, it’s not much of a wonder to us in 2011 that they beat out Starbucks, which has only marginally changed its offerings over the years.
The takeaway then, is to ask if your company is able to change itself in order to keep up with a changing market. Because in today’s world, it’s not only a good quality to have, it’s a requirement.
Of course, for some companies, that’s a “tall” order.