(Note: I first published this on LinkedIn. I thought fellow fans might enjoy it). Did you ever see a movie that you felt was speaking to you - one in which the character experienced something that you could relate to in your gut? Or maybe you heard the lyrics to a song that captured your personal heartbreak? Or maybe you saw a commercial for something you just had to have – as if someone had developed the solution to your very personal problem?
I have worked with companies on various aspects of innovation and growth for (gulp) decades. We often ask clients to describe a brand or a company that they felt was "speaking to them" - one in which the message or insight was meaningful and motivating to them. This helps clients understand what it means to connect with their customers, consumers, end users - whoever is buying what they are selling. As you might imagine, many people mention the brands that many of us can no longer imagine life without - Apple, Amazon (especially Amazon Prime), Shake Shack, Coke, Disney, Tesla, Taylor Swift, one Kardashian or another - fill in your own.
For me, the brand that speaks to me is Starbucks. What more could they do, you might ask? I have made no secret that Starbucks consistently delivers my now daily (used to be monthly and weekly) extra hot, venti, decaf, skinny, mocha latte? Drumroll, please!!! Introducing Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay. From the comfort of my own home, or meeting, or car, or from any activity whatsoever, I just send my order to the nearest Starbucks - and get this - I don't wait in line. I don't even cut the line. I have my own special "Mobile Order and Pay" pick-up line where my drink is waiting with a printed label with my name and order. I have made more than one enemy as I laugh with delight as I skip to the front to get my drink - so relaxed (and with extra time) that I can saunter back to my car, steaming coffee in hand.
Now granted, the idea of immediate gratification is not new. We order items online that get delivered practically before we hit send. We order cars that show up in minutes. We watch whatever show we want whenever we want wherever we want. But this is a whole new high. What a great time to be alive.
And granted, Starbucks isn't perfect. Like the outlets in Target and Barnes & Noble near me don't have all of the flavors. Some of the locations aren't as clean or as appealing as they used be. Not all of them have my sugar-free skinny mocha syrup, and try to pass off the regular mocha syrup with skim milk as a skinny latte. Not every barista communicates that it is his/her absolute pleasure to make an overpriced drink for an impatient commuter, student, mother, professor, butcher, baker or candlestick maker.
But still, hats off to you, Starbucks. I will continue to endure the scorn of my family as I sometimes take them on a wild goose chase looking for a Starbucks wherever we are (even if we don't have time to stop). And of course, there are the seemingly and the endless charges on my credit card for the dastardly automatic reload for me and my Starbucks partner in crime (you know who you are). But I will muscle on, because Starbucks, you (and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire) complete me - ALMOST. The "ALMOST" is because I don't want you to stop trying.