Necessity is the Mother of Re-Invention

Even beloved brands can lose their luster, and in most cases it can be attributed to one thing – complacency.  A brand sitting on top of its category can start taking success for granted.  It stops innovating, loses its soul by not focusing on cultural strengths, core values, and delivery of the expected ‘brand experience.’  The result is predictable; earnings and shares value start to plummet.

A great article in Inc. Magazine tells the story of how Starbucks started losing its leadership position and how CEO Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks and put it on a trajectory to regain category leadership.  He lamented that Starbucks had become a fat-and-happy company that forgot how to innovate …”playing defense instead of trying to score.”  As ‘re-inventor-in-chief’, his main goal was to return the company to one that not only sold fresh brewed coffee, but also served as a ‘third place’ between home and work that was not simply transactional.  What guided Starbucks back to leadership?

  • Research to inform the brand.  Listen to customers and employees for that critically important feedback that helps fix the problems, leverage strengths, and orchestrates renewed success.
  • Executive introspection.  Gather key executives and dig deep to identify how the brand is doing operationally – good and bad – with regard to product innovation and delivering excellent service.
  • Invest in employees and community.  Provide renewed training and motivation to boost morale so that store managers and baristas alike provide a unique, consistent brand experience.  And, use the brand’s scale for good, and maintain a socio-corporate conscience.
  • Innovate and re-invent.  Guided by research, gut and serendipity, expand and introduce new product lines into new markets and delivery systems. Set the bar for utilization of digital technologies and social media techniques that put you on the top of the category.

Starbucks has returned to its position of supremacy.  By re-employing disruptive reinvention, it has introduced new products, reinvigorated staff, modernized technology, and runs a shrewder operation –  all of which have turned the company around in a rebirth as impressive as Apple’s.

Is your brand as healthy as it could be?  Are your customers and employees as happy as they should be?  Is a brand experiencing operational issues that impede optimal success or squander leveragable opportunities because of complacency?  We can help you answer these questions with proven techniques, tools and research.  Please contact us at