The Power Of Vision
Not long ago, Starbucks had a vision of having a store 5 miles from every customer and in Australia that was certainly true in the major cities. However, Starbucks reached saturation point and got to a stage where it had nowhere to go but down, and thats exactly where it went. With bad coffee, untidy and underperforming stores and a stock price that fell dramatically, the brand was forced into a direct showdown with McDonald's McCafe's, which began opening on every corner.
Every brand experiences growing pains and Starbucks, which opened new stores at an arguably pathological rate, was no exception. The Espresso reports that speaking at last Thursday's Ernst & Young Strategic Growth forum, Starbucks creator and CEO Howard Schultz, admitted that his brand had lost its focus after 15 years of infallibility. 'Somehow along the way, the level of the Starbucks feeling, the love inspired by the people-based business, got somewhat blurred by success.' As a result Schultz has had to make some difficult decisions in the past year or so and has closed some 900 stores. In the mean time, McCafe has gone from strength to strength (believe it or not).
It just goes to show the power of the vision. With a vision to be 5 miles from every customer, they grew too fast and forgot what the Starbucks experience was all about - coffee, the stores, the environment, the feeling, the people, the look and the sound. All this got blurred and forgotten due to an explosive rate of expansion. Brand vision is incredibly important for every sized brand or company and its surprising how few brand managers and CEO's can articulate where they want their brand to be in 5, 10 or 15 years time. Can you articulate your brand vision?