Thursday, August 18, 2011

Restore the American Dream (Our BRAND) To Restore The Economy: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Piers Morgan (August 17, 2011)

Americandream

When I was a brand consultant I quickly learned to divide branding into the good and the bad. 

* Good branding is where you involve the workforce to achieve a collective mission in a way that is economically, socially, and psychologically profitable to all stakeholders involved. 

* Bad branding is where you put lipstick on a pig and soak innocent people for their money.

I have often thought that good branding applies not only to business but to any organization or any person seeking to achieve a goal.

On the CNN interview show "Piers Morgan Tonight" last night (August 17, 2011) Howard Schultz talked about how he is urging the business community to take matters into their own hands with respect to the economic recovery.

He shared some thoughts (actually he is furious at Washington) on how to turn the economy around. Though he didn't say it, he basically espoused the principles behind the Starbucks company, which I consider to be the #1 brand in the world. Schultz really gets it.

Key points:

1. The average person has to believe that they have an opportunity to succeed - to achieve the American Dream - which is our brand (!) Right now, they are losing that faith.

2. The average person has to have trust in the country's leadership. Right now, they are losing that trust because of all the bickering.

3. Leaders have to demonstrate true transparency to build that trust.

4. The problems are not difficult to solve. It is the infighting that gets in the way of focusing on the problem.

5. What we need is a focus on prosperity balanced with a determination to take care of our people.

6. There is an imbalance of government workers as opposed to manufacturing jobs. (Note: I work for the government - I am not taking a position on this - just recapturing what Schultz said.) Major point: Need to bring manufacturing innovation to the U.S. instead of farming it out.

7. China is not the enemy, we need to look at it as a potential market.

8. It is important to have respect and cultural sensitivity to others as you engage with them. Schultz repeatedly said that he wanted to speak in a respectful way; that he knew there was a difference between turning a business around and turning a government around; and Starbucks executives, including himself, are learning Chinese. They are going into the market with respect.

9. Symbolism on the part of leaders is important: It looks bad to take a vacation when things are in such bad shape.

10. Last but not least, the focus has to be on putting people back to work. Jobs, jobs, jobs are the key to economic confidence.

Overall I cannot emphasize enough that the principles of branding, used well, have the capacity not only to help you make money, but can help you create positive social change. 

Have a good day - and good luck!

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