Piss On It

I’m not talking about the Francis Underwood (House of Cards) pissing on the grave of his father type of pissing, but the type of pissing many animals do for the purpose of demarcation and communicating….this is mine.

For the artists (and we are all artist) it’s a clear line conveying she did this, I referenced it, and voila…‘I made this’.

It looks like what she did but, I acknowledge this other persons contribution, I’ve added something substantial, and it’s similar… but this is a new thing. The way Milton Glaser used Marcel Duchamps influence for his Dylan poster.

Whatever it is that you do (manager, designer, entrepreneur, scientist) one of the best things you can do to uniquely brand your self is to piss on the work of others, doing so helps to develop the creative muscularity to develop your own style.

I recently listened to a talk by Nick Bayer at Phila Startup Grind where he explained he visited more than 50 Starbucks in a few days before opening his coffee franchise Saxbys. He used Starbucks as a model to develop something unique in the market place. So on the surface you see two coffee franchises but digging deep there’s a clear demarcation between the two franchises. Saxbys sees itself has a hospitality company, and it exist to make lives better….selling coffee is just how they do it.

George Clinton describes the collaboration with Prince for Paradigm like this. I’d send him my recording, he’d piss on it and send it back to me, and then I’d piss on it.

So we’re clear. Pissing on it means… modifying the work of someone else in a substantial way until it’s clearly your own, it means clearly marking your own territory, and acknowledging you pissed.

Photo Credit: iStock




Starbucks Barista Promise

starbucks barista promise

If you read this blog even a little bit then you know I’m a huge Starbucks fan.  And not just of their coffee and teas, Starbucks as a brand gets a lot of things right, and here’s one.  In my local Starbucks, I’m assuming something similar is in every location world wide, is a sign that reads “Love your beverage or let us know. We’ll always make it right”.  This is what they call they Barista Promise.

starbucks barista promise

The barista promise sign does a few things for Starbucks.

  1. Builds trust in the brand by owning up to…hey we’re not perfect and we might serve your beverage too hot, too cold, too sweet, too strong, or too whatever, but it does not matter because we’re going to do it again until you love it.
  2. Encourages you to try something new because, hey even if you goof and order something you can’t stand, we’ll do it again until it’s right…and that builds loyalty.
  3. Shows respect for the customer…even if the customer was wrong.
  4. Allows Starbucks to make more promises in the future…because they’ve made good on the ones made in the past.

Improve Your Customer Service Offer…The Starbucks Way

Everyone already knows that you can’t always be right.  So why not just go on record and admit it?  It’s likely the best investment you can make in your customer service program…and it’s absolutely free…plus it’s already proven to work for a major player like Starbucks.

When a brand acknowledges they did not get something right, they are simply saying we set an expectation, but we failed to live up to it…this time.