I’m wondering if Starbucks will be an innovation comeback kid after reading all the coverage this week, incl. this WSJ article. Its not quite the same as Apple’s Mac days from a decade or two ago, but this is who came to mind when I read the news this week.
There was nothing revolutionary about the announcements Howard Schultz made although its pretty clear that the company recognizes that its been complacement and needs to do something (good for them!). There has been talk about new coffee machines, a customer loyalty card and a new blend of brewed coffee in an effort to revive its coffee empire. The company also has launched a Web site — www.mystarbucksidea.com — for customers feedback. Similar to Pepsi’s strategy, Starbucks plans to start selling energy drinks and that it wants to create more health-oriented items. Will this be enough? Its hard to say, I suspect it will be innovative in the ways it accomplishes this turnaround, although in this world of instant gratification, they need to act fast. I also hope the announced steps won’t limit the way SBUX will innovate and they’re communications are more convincing. Someone told me last week, that SBUX closed EVERY single SBUX for an hour or two for barista training 101 (it was a week day, around 4 p.m.) – its not afraid of doing things different or sacrificing some $$ at the expense of doing things right. I’ll be watching from the sidelines with a cup of tea in hand.