The Importance of Staying Vital: Starbucks Still Trendy?
I don’t know if anyone else saw the story about Starbucks opening a pop up “coffee library” in one of Tokyo, Japan’s trendier shopping districts for most of the month of September, but it took me by surprise. Mostly because — and I’m just realizing this — I’ve failed to associate Starbucks with trendiness for quite a while now. That’s not to say that the brand’s not as popular as always; it has, however, become so ubiquitous in any semi-populous area of the United States that all of what used to be a relatively hipster business model seems old hat. You know — seasonal lattes (pumpkin spice? peppermint?), selling CDs in store, painting everything dark, referring to all of your drink sizes as various denominations of “large.” It’s still popular, we still like going there, but it hasn’t seemed cutting-edge for a while.
Which is why the Harajuku pop up Starbucks interested me. How can already successful business still do things that seem fresh and new? The point of the store, from what I can tell, was to draw attention to the new process Starbucks baristas are now using to make their espresso. By creating a trendy, white-washed store that looks nothing like the dark and cozy Starbucks we know, the Japanese sector of the company hopes to focus attention on their espresso beverages, which Nordio Adachi (Starbucks’ corporate director in Japan) called a “core beverage,” also stating that the company wanted to remind people of their “authority” in lattes, macchiatos, and other espresso drinks.
Which brings me to my point, maybe. Coffee is everywhere, and everyone’s seemingly offering premium blends, roasts, and beverages now. Whether it’s Starbucks, Caribou, Biggby, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Horton’s, or McDonalds, you can get a wide range of coffee and espresso beverages pretty much any place that has a strip mall or downtown. So it’s important to stay fresh, to stay on top of things, and to make your business seem vital compared to others.
This is not true just for coffee shops. No matter your fare, there’s probably someplace nearby that offers an approximation or facsimile of what you serve. But what is it that makes your restaurant (cafe, etc.) vital? Better? More important?
Find out and play it up to customers. Remind them: market, market, market.
I’ll be back on Friday with another post. Until then, contact us here.