Skip to main content

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


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!


Image source here

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …