There is such a focus on dollars and cents in business that many times nothing else seems to matter; this is rightfully so. In order to have a successful brand, sales must be made and dollars created for the company. It’s quite simple. But those brands that are out of launch years and lucky enough to be selling who the brand is can focus on more than just numbers. There’s a whole lot more out there that customers want to see once a brand has created its foundation and has proved its worth. So look past the numbers at the core of the brand and make decisions based on this.
Starbucks has yet to conform to any sort of standard. The brand has its own standard; one that is respected by customers and employees alike and has grown the brand to where it is today. So last week, when a shareholder asked about the brand’s backing of gay marriage, Howard Schultz was quick to respond. Without missing a beat, this brand genius and Starbucks creator explained that not all decisions are economic ones because many of them are made through the lens of the brand’s people; of really embracing the message of diversity and not just talking about it, but also living it. Schultz was not rude or angry, but really quite truthful as he knows what’s right for the brand and for its shareholders. Perhaps the best part was when he emphasized the 38% shareholder return in the last 12 months and simply stated if this isn’t good enough, shareholders are more than welcome to sell their shares and move on.
It’s almost like a dream — a brand dream. One that is so perfectly played out that it seems unreal. Yet this is happening more and more as brands stay true to their core message and take after those strong brands like Starbucks that demonstrate this is okay. It’s more than okay. It's what customers want. This isn’t about being for or against gay marriage, but instead it’s about delivering a brand message that a company truly stands behind in every facet of its being. It’s perfect brand harmony, and everyone’s singing along.