The buzz today among marketers, brand developers and those who love coffee circles around the announcement that Starbucks raised its drink prices by a nickel, its first price increase in two years....
So what's the big deal?
Starbucks built its reputation on brand image, the Third Place Experience. An intangible. And intangibles are easy to attack because experiences are in the minds of those touched by them. And even happy and loyal customers can be fickle.
Any time Starbucks finds itself in the news, an excuse to mumble about the brand and a declining experience rises like foam on a latte. Service is inconsistent, the coffee is inconsistent, the experience is inconsistent, I'm looking for another cafe.
Yet Starbucks continues to grow both stores and customers within existing stores, as measured by comparative sales. I ask myself, and you, is the complaining just us being human or is their something changing at Starbucks? Is the brand showing its first cracks?