Starbucks is one of the great marketing success stories of the past 10 years! They’ve created, delivered and marketed the “coffee experience” in a truly remarkable way and there’s much to learn from their success.
One of the things that we can all learn from Starbucks is the art of creating premium products and then romancing them with a compelling story that makes customers feel that they’re part of something very special.
Once a year Starbucks creates a “Special Reserve” coffee, then packages it beautifully and prices it at over $20.00 (Cdn) per pound. To put that price into perspective, according to a recent issue of Consumers Report magazine, you can buy a very good 100% Columbian coffee with “floral and earthy notes” for $6.00 (Cdn) a pound.
But here’s the wonderful story that Starbucks tells us about their premium coffee. Read this story and, as you do, see how you start to understand that this coffee is worth the 20 plus dollars a pound that they’re asking for it. Here’s what they tell us…
Once again, coffee farmers of the world participated in our annual Special Reserve competition by sending us their finest beans. Though many farmers experienced difficult growing conditions, hard work and perseverance helped them overcome the odds to present us with some truly remarkable coffees. From these we selected four that stood above the rest, then roasted them into StarbucksÒ Special Reserve Blend 2004 – a rare and enticing coffee we created to honor farmers for their dedication, and reward you with a wonderful experience.
This year’s StarbucksÒ Special Reserve is a perfect melding of four distinct coffees into one extraordinary blend:
From Kenya, a coffee that’s unusually full-bodied with striking grapefruit notes.
From Costa Rica’s Naranjo region, a coffee with stunning citrus notes and a delightful sparkle.
From Guatemala’s Huehuetenango region, a coffee that’s perfectly balance; and,
From Chiapas, in Southern Mexico, a coffee with a heady floral aroma.
Combined, they offer a phenomenal taste with unmistakable citrus notes, a luxurious mouthful and a seductive finish.”
OK, now go back and read it again. Be mindful of their choice of words…
So, what can you learn from this? What special, world-class, award-winning, premium product, service or total experience can you create? How can you package it distinctively and then price it accordingly? Then, how and where will you tell your wonderful story in a way that “grabs” the minds, hearts and wallets of your most discriminating or demanding customers?
Not only can these effectively marketed premium items make big money, they also create a wonderful “halo effect” that adds emotional value to your entire range of products or services. That’s why Chrysler has the Viper, why Nissan has the magnificent 350Z roadster… and why Britain still has the royal family. They class up the place!
Donald Cooper, MBA, has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. He speaks and coaches internationally on marketing, management and business excellence. Donald can be reached at email@example.com in Toronto, Canada. To read more of his articles, go to www.donaldcooper.com and click on “Free Articles”.
I recently stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn. It was a fine experience, but I always take note on how the food is merchandised in the foyer / entrance way. The program was functional and operationally thought through but also visually pleasing. General decor had a fresh appearance which I'm sure actually adds to overall guest satisfaction. I would be very surprised if the group didn't have a custom scent developed for their brand as a enjoyable aroma greeted you upon entering the property.
A massed out display of happy hour beverages were housed in a built in stainless well ice bin. The under counter featured a home kitchen and marble counter top much like modern kitchen home renovations. The look made you feel at home, but also that the food and culinary offerings was better than average if you stay here!
The hotel actually charges a fee for their breakfast, but I feel they do a great job from the arrival of increasing your perception of what they may offer the following morning. My business colleague and I did purchase breakfast and I enjoyed 3 perfectly cooked poached eggs with a side of salsa for an exceptionally reasonable price. Which brings up a great point, the merchandising perceptions I encountered was delivered in the value and service and food quality of my actual meal. Many retailers and hotels try to build a wonderful environment to serve guests garbage in and make them think they got a great deal.
A small bar offering was available, but I was most impressed with the cross selling signage found throughout the entrance. This message made guests aware of a special offering of chicken wings on Wednesdays with compelling photos and clear detailed information on how to participate.
I loved these little Le Creuset dutch ovens used for candle holders. Once again they added a lovely color and a very important message: better culinary here!
A special partnership was developed with a local restaurant Bravo Italian and communicated through this nicely designed signage on the front desk. This offer featured a special discount for guests of the hotel.
Finally I was very impressed that the complimentary snacks were "home-made" by their culinary team. These in-house granola type bars were a customer recipe to enjoy with the continual coffee and water service, which also looked great by the way. Great Job Hilton Garden Inn.
Food Merchandising Blog: Ideas & Tips to Help you Grow Your Food Market