Mar 26, 2008

Starbucks vs McDonalds

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A McDonalds in Tempe, Arizona I visited 3-22-08
Do not use photos without written permission. All rights reserved.

I found this post questioning the value of the Starbucks' employee 3-hour mandatory training video viewing session awhile back:

"how many of them knew before the training that the pledge they put their signatures next to has been part of the culture since about the dawn of Starbucks time? Furthermore, how many Starbucks customers have forgotten about this promise over the years?"
I also found this gem of a comment on this blog:
"Whatever the relative merits or demerits of the individual loci, the Starbucks habituee will not 'descend' to the perceived downmarket of McD's, which is a brand-association drummed into our consciousness by millions of ad messages over decades. The food may be better, the prices definitively so, at McD's, but the smart set will not cotton to the overbright, plastic-dominated perceived lower-ranking environment of kid-friendly McD's.

The escalation of prices for a simple beverage to unheard-of stratospheres is one thing that has, to date, ensured the rarefied perception of Starbuck's as being compatible with the upward-striving status-jumper.

So unless McD's radically alters its branding, the trendoids will find it distasteful to step lively in those swinging doors, even if their coffee tastes more acidic and sets them back more by a factor of twice or thrice the McD's coffee." -Marion Dreyfus
I have a friend who is a Barista and I want her to (a) read his post and (b) give her thoughts. I am emailing her the link and will post her thoughts if she decides to participate. I think her viewpoint will be interesting.

For me, I LOVE the second quote. A brand that has "aspire" built into it's identity attracts people who want to be what the brand says it is. People who are poor want to be rich, and Starbucks looks rich. Those same people the writer says, won't go to McDonalds because it doesn't make them feel like they are rich.

What the writer does not say is that there are people who are (a) rich and don't care where they get their coffee and (b) poor who stop their aspirations and start making the switch to the inexpensive. Also, McDonalds could give the same in-store cues Starbucks gives (mood lghting, nice furniture, good quality product) and bring the aspirerers to their side.

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