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Quick Blog…

From NYC where I’m to judge the PR Week awards, see customers and drop by one of our agencies. I was intrigued to read that Starbucks is about to start serving muffins. Was thinking about how stupid this is (in brand terms) and then stumbled across Laura’s blog which pretty much nails my view…

The answer is not to mess with success. Strong brands stay focused. Strong brands stand for singular ideas in the mind. Starbucks should stay focused on coffee. Look at the success of their recent Pumpkin coffee promotion. So forget the egg muffins Howard and stick to the great coffee.

Down in New Zealand our coffee houses (and we have more, better, cooler of them than anywhere here) serve stunning food and even better coffee (when you have a ‘long flat white’ you’ll understand). The combo works well. The coffee house is a destination for a snack, lunch or, a cuppa. There the brand experience is defined also by the food served. All kinds of eclectic twists result.

But how an english muffin – the ‘same’ English muffin available at McDonalds – with carefully manufactured ham and cheese improves or adds to the (my) Starbucks brand experience escapes me. When we, the customer, said we wanted food, I think we meant, well, food.

But then I do have like $40 left on my Starbucks card… who would have thought a company could get you to prepay for your daily addiction all under the guise of convenience… and… the other reason I’m such an enthusiastic shareholder is their ability to move on from mistakes quickly – remember those milkshakes a couple of summers ago. Great idea but they subjected us to interminable waits for our daily fuel. The things we have to put up with to get going in the morning…

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