This morning I headed down to Hoboken for a few errands and walked into the Starbucks on River Street. My first task was finding the bag of coffee beans I wanted amongst the similarly packaged bags. No bags of Sumatra. No bags below in storage and none in the back I’m told. Okay, I guess I’ll buy Casi Cielo which is another flavor I like.
I ask them to grind it for Turkish style. Thankfully the grinder was working, as many times in the past it wasn’t or would not go to that fineness.
I have my own Starbucks gold card which I earned from shopping there over the years. When I first received it I thought it was a great rewards system. Free coffee refills; every 12 cups, one free; and whenever I buy a bag, a free tall coffee to go with it. Today, at first, they wouldn’t give me the free coffee and told me the rewards have changed. But they realized I didn’t know and showed me a newly reprinted rewards promotion piece.
Starbucks has cut back. I walked out of that store with a sour taste in my mouth.
I started thinking about what a giant global brand like Starbucks has to do to stay on “brand” and satisfy customers and whether it’s right to change the rules of engagement after you’ve already launched a program. Is corporate greed the new “brand” message? Instead of loving the products and walking out happy and sipping away, I walked out disappointed. All I could think was we pay and pay, and they raise prices, and even when they try to reward us, they can’t follow through.
Are there other global brands who have done something similar you’d like to share?