Blog, Business & Markets

You say it best, when you say nothing at all


It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart.

Ok, you don’t want to hear me singing. You really don’t want to. So why am I quoting Ronan Keating with apparently no reason? Well, my reason is Starbucks. I was kind of surprised this morning by a simple and smart handwritten sign that I have found on a local bar. More or less it said: Please stop complaining about the price of the espresso. Just think about it, for just 1 euro you can have:

  • An awesome hot coffee
  • A cool place with interesting people
  • Air conditioning during summertime, heating during wintertime
  • A free bunch of today’s newspapers
  • Free Wifi for checking your email and kitten pictures
  • Unlimited access to the WC

I have counted around twenty bullet-pointed reasons, and all of them were absolutely right. But in spite of going on with my quick espresso, I started wondering why an unfashionable Italian bar was exposing this sign and no big coffeehouse chain has used the same concept.

Of course my first thought was for Starbucks. I mean, the Seattle coffee company created a unique environment where people can find themselves at home even in the most remote corner of the Earth. The famous secret of the company is exactly the ability to make you feel comfortable and cuddled, no matter if you are in a romantic trip to Paris or just escaping from the work monotony. So why don’t sell it?

Instead of using the “local bar” approach, Starbucks successfully chose the “Ronan Keating” approach. If you focus on their adv campaigns, you will easily discover that the main theme is the distinctiveness of the coffee, which comes to you travelling on the back of some fourth-dimension-travelling unicorns (even though they do not fly).

We as customers prefer to find for ourselves the practical side of the things, it makes us feel clever. So intimately we like Starbacks because we can spend the whole day there reading a book or writing a novel with our hipster typewriters. But if anyone asks, we love it because of the unique flavor of their special real Macchiato.

The practical and the emotional sides satisfied at the same time. Bingo!

Let’s now try with another coffee company, Nespresso. They act with the same pattern, selling you the best Indonesian weasel pooped coffee in some fancy aluminium capsules. They also sell coffee machines finely studied to be a cute piece of interior design that can revamp your Ikea kitchen. And they spend millions of dollars in communication to let you know that.

What they will never tell you is how easy and clean is using the capsule method to make coffee instead of the old school way. This is what you have to discover for yourself, feeling clever. And once you do, you can spread the word.

And from the financial results of both companies, I would say that the DFY (discover for yourself) approach sells way more than the local bar one. Coffee-cheers to them.

Photo by Chris Kolbu.

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