Starbucks – A Case Study. Alex Cochran 2003
Starbucks is currently the largest coffee shop chain in the world. Thecompany has reached this point in a remarkably short period of time. Duringthis time the company has developed an extremely strong company culture.This culture emanates from the very top of the organisation the companyhas a clear vision and this is communicated company wide. The companyknows who its target markets are and how to treat them so to develop a highdegree of brand loyalty.In the process it has developed sustainable competitive advantages across abroad spectrum of its structure. These advantages extend from its selectionand training of employees, to vendor relations, to the art of roasting beans tothe way in which it delivers product to its stores. If the company is able tocontinue to deliver superior value to its customers as well as reap thepremium profitability generated by the competitive advantage barriers andinvest part of that profitability in further enhancements, it is questionablewhether there will ever be a challenger to its number one position.The company has utilized a number of specialty sales partnerships to helpaccelerate the growth to this point. It is important that these partnershipsbuild on the equity of the brand. There is a potential in times of high growthand high growth expectations that unacceptable risks are taken with thebrand image in the name of sustained growth. Starbucks must be cognisantof this danger and the senior management must be able to make the correctcall in the risk/reward equation.Successful brands attract suitors. MacDonalds has approached Starbucks anumber of times to offer Starbucks product across its fast food outlets. Thisgrowth strategy has not sat well with the Starbucks management as there isa concern that such and association will be detrimental to the brands imageand has the potential to destroy a degree of brand equity.Starbucks has high growth expectations both internally and externally in themarket. It needs to have significant growths strategies in place to achievethis growth. However this growth cannot come at the expense of the brandimage.There is a mix of growth strategies that are likely to achieve the degree of growth required, but at an acceptable risk to the brand equity.
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