What To Learn From A Brand That Is Trusted Globally?

Starbucks logo

Image via Wikipedia

Why Paying a coffee at Starbucks 3$ while you could get a good coffee at your local Deli or coffee shop for 99 cts?

This is not only the taste, price does not matter because you don’t drink coffee,  it is the “Starbucks Experience: Everywhere in the world Starbucks use the same design with subtle adjustments to local cultures but the offer is basically the same everywhere:  lounge-music, sandwiches and cakes, mugs with the city name and other accessories. The beverage pricing is “fixed” in local currency, 3$ for a “Tall” coffee in Atlanta or New York and 3 Euros in Paris. This means in Paris it is about 30% overvalued against the dollar.

Starbucks has a global blog with access to many countries’ pages translated in local languages.

For sure Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir and all the ” Parisian Rive-Gauche”  intellectual  elite would be horrified to know that the “Quartier Latin”,  where the French cultural revolution took place in 1968,  has already three lounges from the American coffee company around “Place Saint-Michel” . There are 50 Starbucks in Paris:  http://www.starbucks.com/blog/ah-paris! . Read more about Starbucks in France from an American Expat in France.

The customers look more or less the same in big cities: You will see in New-York or Paris, moms with babies in strollers who socialize for the whole afternoon, students writing their essays on their laptops or workers indulging in high Kcal cakes with a “Non-fat Grande Latte” or a double-shot espresso posting some pictures on Facebook or tweeting while checking their emails at lunch break. All Starbucks have a WIFI connection.

Starbucks Coffee Company has 15,000 coffee lounges in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Rim all of them offering the same concept. For some travelers, finding a Starbucks in Qatar or Tokyo is a way to be in a known territory, feel connected with both the other clients and  the “partners” (staff) even if they are 3,000 kilometers away from their home.

Starbucks’ mission statements is almost the same everywhere slightly localized to local customers’ values but not much as you can see from he missions statements I translated from Starbucks’ blog’s country pages:

In France : We are committed to providing the best coffee in the world and the best tasting experience to our customers while managing our business in order to contribute to changing social, economic and ecological communities where we operate.

In the US: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. Starbucks is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business.

In Brazil: The mission of Starbucks is more than words on a piece of paper. It is the philosophy that guides the way we do business in our day-to-day. To establish Starbucks as the premier provider of the finest coffees in the world, without ever compromising their principles throughout our growth process.

Here the six main principles and values that drive Starbucks’ business globally:

#1 Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

#2 Embrace diversity as an essential component of the way we do business.

#3 Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting, preparation and delivery of our coffee.

#4 Generate enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time.

#5 Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.

#6 Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

What can we learn from Starbucks to set up a personal global brand ?

1-Same principles apply for  Starbucks and your global personal brand: be yourself everywhere with the minimum of cultural adjustments in your communication strategy:  use your target audience’s  language and key words but your value offer  remains the same globally.

2-Define your global target audience your target customers’ profile  might slightly differ from one country to another but you should feel “connected”  through their values and principles otherwise your concept or unique selling point cannot work globally.

3-Values shape actions: yours and those of your stakeholders: clients, partners, employees, employers, subordinates, etc. Craft your value proposition based on who you are and what your are best at doing ?  Be aware of your perceived image in different countries: choose your target carefully. Write your personal mission statement that identify what you do that is unique for a company or a client to hire you: Combine your unique attributes+ benefits for your target audience:  Here is mine (not perfect but the key elements are there) :

“I am a professional coach with 20 years of international business management in Fortune 500 global companies in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific, inspiring global executives to reach their full potential by leveraging difference for excellence while inventing their futures”

4-Communicate with cultural sensitivity your global offer :  Be aware of local customs and your competitors’ offer locally but if your concept has a true global value, then competition does not matter, at least if you are the first on the market. In France be formal, always use Mrs. or Mrs for first contact, in US you can use first name even if you don’t know the person. If you apply for a local job in Japan, use Japanese only if you are fluent,  in most cases International Japanese or foreign-owned companies are looking for a specific expertise and English fluency. If you have the time to learn and become fluent do, but if you can only learn “survival Japanese” to break the ice that is fine as in business settings a translator will probably be used even if your partner is fluent in English.

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in American Culture, Executive Coaching, expatriates, Global Economy, Global Executives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What To Learn From A Brand That Is Trusted Globally?

  1. Good example of subtly adjusting to cultural differences. Thought-provoking and a good example to others. Additional example: in Greece the Starbucks emphasis is much more on connecting with friends in a nice location (rather than working by yourself with your Wifi connection).

  2. Pingback: Starbucks’ Sorta Mom & Pop Coffee Shop « Evan Kessler Dot Com

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