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Starbucks Now Controls Fresh Air
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Strong brands are good brands. Those brands that push the bounds of what’s accepted and what’s been done and basically write their own story. Love those brands. But not all brands have the power to do what they want and gain support from customers. This comes from years of building trust and acceptance and also educating people on who the brand is. Starbucks. This strong brand does a lot of new things and many brands wish they could follow suit. But to be honest, maybe some of the actions Starbucks takes are only accepted because it’s the iconic coffee brand. Maybe if another brand tried to pull off bold statements and unique brand practices it wouldn’t work.

Starbucks has extended its control. The brand has now decided that it owns the air outside its company-owned stores. And it’s all for their core customer and to be true to the core brand. Starbucks is banning smoking within 25 feet of its stores. So, technically Starbucks owns this property, but it’s outside and that’s where people go to smoke. Well, not anymore if that person is at Starbucks. Cross the street, walk 30 feet, because Starbucks is watching.

It’s likely that this new statement by Starbucks won’t alienate a large population of customers. There are many states with smoking bans and it might become more of a nuisance than anything else. But it also seems that Starbucks might have a little more power than a local bakery per se. The world looks up to Starbucks — bold statement, but also kinda true. Customers appreciate the brand and other businesses use it as a model for success. So when Starbucks says something people tend to listen with open ears and an open mind.

And when thinking about the brand this type of move is not outside the core of Starbucks. It’s a brand that takes the environment seriously and does anything it can to help protect it. So making a move like banning smoking in front of its stores seems like a natural next move in the brand’s quest to continually improve. And for customers it’s not hard to accept or hard to understand because it feels like Starbucks. And when things “feel” like a brand customers don’t fight it; they let it happen and test it out before making a big fuss. It’s important for all brands to test the limits and try to push the bounds of the company. But advances and changes need to build up to a larger brand message that customers already buy into. Because introducing something too far-fetched or confusing just leads to unhappy customers. Starbucks sells a friendly environment in a cup and now also 25 feet from its door.


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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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