Friday, October 2, 2009

Brand Lessons from Starbucks to Star Trek

My column in the October, 2009 issue of KC Small Business is on making your employees into brand ambassadors. As an unapologetic fan of both, I thought Starbucks and Star Trek were good examples. So, here's a taste. Click on the link below the excerpt to beam over to the entire article.


The heart of your repeat business model is the mechanism that perpetuates the best aspects of your company: your employees. Some of the best companies in the world foster a culture that makes employees into brand ambassadors. The company trains and empowers employees to embody the company’s brand message.

At Starbucks, everyone from the barista to the CEO is on message about the company’s environmentally friendly, pro-trade policies and giving customers the “coffee shop experience” with every cup. Even better, Starbucks has been successful in making their customers into brand ambassadors. It speaks volumes that in today’s challenging economy, you still see brand-loyal people start their day with the iconic, premium-priced Starbucks cup in hand.


So how do you make your employees into brand ambassadors? Start with your “elevator speech.” If you were on an elevator and someone asked you what your company does, could you explain it in a coherent, appealing way in less than a minute?


Let’s take a page from the summer blockbuster movie Star Trek. You don’t have to be a Trek fanatic to know the mission statement of the starship Enterprise: “To seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” In All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek, Dave Marinaccio aptly points out that every crewmember—from the lowly (and generally short-lived) red-shirted crewman to the elite bridge officers—knows the ship’s mission and “brand.”

Read the entire article here.

Of course, hailing frequencies are open (the comments section) for your thoughts, mind-melds, or favorite barista joke.