Small things matter. Is My Local Starbucks Starting To Suck?

Let me start by saying that if you know me personally or if you follow this blog then you know I’m a fan of the Starbucks brand.  But I’ve got to be honest.  I just had a bad experience (from a marketing and branding stand point) at my local Starbucks.

After I left the gym this morning I pulled over and ordered via the Starbucks app an oatmeal with 2 agave syrups, 1 blueberry pack, and 1 fruit & nut seed medley.

The bad vibes started the moment I walked through the door, and didn’t get the usual ‘Welcome to Starbucks from across the counter’.  But that wasn’t the problem.  The young lady serving up items at the pickup counter it was visible (at least it seemed) like she just didn’t want to be there.   I mean I walked through the front door (along with another gentleman) and straight to the pickup counter and just stood there and she didn’t acknowledge either of us.  We’re just standing there, and the pickup counter is right in front of the entry door…she saw come in.  So we had to ask for our stuff.

When I get my order it’s wrong.  But what’s frustrating me is that this not the first time this store has gotten my orders wrong.  So I go up to the pickup counter to show her on my iPhone screen what I ordered and to ask does it come through to you this way.  Her response “I don’t know, I didn’t pack your order”.   I’m thinking “What!!!”.  So I ask again, and she gives me the same response.

While standing there I realize I can’t read her name tag because it looks like someone took a wet cloth and smeared the white letters so that only what looked like a  G, a Y, and an N  were visible in her name.  I’m thinking 2 myself what’s the point in wearing an illegible name tag?

Finally she asked me what was actually in the bag, I told her and she gave me the items that were left out.  But what she didn’t give at any point was an I’m sorry we got it wrong.  Sadly, this experience is a long way off form the Starbucks Barista Promise I wrote about a while back.

starbucks order
What I ordered
starbucks wrong order
What I got

The main points I want to make here about branding are.

  • If you’re an employee and you’re having a bad day, as we all do sometimes either suck it up and smile or just go home.  Our attitudes affect how the companies we work for are perceived.
  • Small things like a name tag that can’t be read actually matter a lot to some people … like me.
  • If you or someone else on your team get’s something wrong start with “I sorry”, not “I don’t know I didn’t do it”.

You’re More Beautiful Than You Think

dove you're more beautiful than you think

This post is inspired by my sister-n-law who’s theme for her 60th birthday is “Hello Beautiful”.  Having recently attended her birthday party the video below caught my attention.

I’m tipping my hat once again to Dove for it’s branded content series.  In this one Dove employed a sketch artist to show women the dramatic difference between how they see themselves and how others see them.

Dove’s campaign proves that marketing can be powerful when it tells the truth.  It’s even more powerful when it forces you to see the truth.  And according to Dove…you’re more beautiful than you think.

The Effect Michael Jackson Had On VCR Sales

michael jackson

The Effect Michael Jackson Had On VCR Sales

I was checking out Facebook today and came across a post my friend Chiji shared of some rare Michael Jackson footage.  It was MJ practicing for the Thriller video.

More than 30 years later the album and the video still remain relevant.  However, one thing most people don’t realize is that not only did Michael change music, and video with Thriller, but he also drove VCR sales.

It’s the kind of thing you had to be around in 1983 to understand. Leading up to the late 1983 release of the Thriller video MTV had made watching music video’s popular.  But Michael made owning music videos popular.  In fact Thriller is likely the only music video you ever wanted to own.

By making Thriller in the format of a movie, telling a short story, and making the video available for sale in stores Michael revolutionized the marketing of music videos…and drove VCR sales through the roof.

I remember when the Thriller video was released people hitting electronic stores to by VCR’s to watch the video.  My family bought our first VCR just so we could watch Thriller. Notice in the chart below the spike at the end of 1983.  Wondering what happened at the tail end of that year?  The Thriller video was released November 2, 1983.

VCR sales

If you were to pull a chart of Adidas sales and the chart buster My Adidas by Run DMC you’d see the same thing.

Something 2 Make U Go Hmm!: Check this out.

Your Brain on Branding

fried egg

Branding is the reason, just to name a few, why you believe that

  • wearing skinny jeans actually means you’re slimmer
  • your perfume makes you sexier
  • it’s smarter to use a credit card instead of cash
  • that BMW makes the worlds best car
  • that drinking a Coke makes you happier
  • and that using an Apple computer means you’re more creative

Of course none of these things are actually true…but corporations will spend billions of dollars to get you to think so.  Because they know that you express yourself via the things you buy.

Great marketers know that you’re buying not because of who you are, but who you want to be.


3 Excellent Examples of Landing Pages

lyft landing page

I talk with so many business owners, and unfortunately marketers that don’t quite get the sole purpose of landing pages.  So here it is…your landing page exist solely for getting website visitors to convert to the next stage in the buying journey. Sounds simple, but creating a landing page that converts requires both detailed planning and ongoing testing.

Small business can save a ton of time and money by just observing what larger successful companies are doing.  Think about it..they’ve invested millions in figuring out what works best…all you’ve got to do is imitate them.  Just keep in mind that when it comes to landing pages there’s no right or wrong.  You have to test, monitor results, and adjust to get to a solution that converts best for your product or service.

Small Print: I feel these companies do an excellent job following best practices for building landing pages.  With that said the obvious things is I don’t have access to their actual analytics to determine actual conversion rates.  My hope here is to provide you with some fuel to launch you in the right direction for your project.


lyft landing page

This is an excellent landing page because it focuses on a single concern that potential drivers have…earning money!  It’s also mobile friendly.  It also makes excellent use of colors that tend to convert well..oranges, and shades of red.  Additionally it’s simple…you can’t get confused about what Lyft wants the used to do.  The form appears immediately on right hand side.

Lyft is keenly using two conversion paths.  The form on the right is for people who arrive and know that they want to drive with Lyft.  The smaller form below the main area offers a conversion path for folks wanting to test the waters.

Lending Tree

lending tree landing page

This is a landing page for a reverse mortgage.  Let me say that I generating qualified reverse mortgage leads is extremely difficult because so much information has to be collected.  What this form does well is it ask a single disarming, easily answerable question..’What’s Your Property Type’.  I did the same thing when I worked in the reverse mortgage space and I wrote millions of dollars in loans from a similar landing page I designed for myself.

Like Lyft, Lending Tree is also utilizing multiple conversion paths.  Users can complete the form or just call…the phone number is in the upper corner.

lynda landing page

There are several things I like about this landing page from online learning giant

  • It uses only 4 colors that are all easy on the visual senses.
  • It uses an actual image of a person, instead of a stick or shadow figure.  I learned early on in my marketing days designing direct mail for the auto industry that images of actual people convert better.
  • They’ve incorporated video.
  • They’ve incorporated movement which you can’t see from the style image here.  Visit the actual landing page to watch how they use movement to engage the reader with two direct messages.
  • There’s no confusion about what they want you to do…Start a Free Trial.

Here’s a landing page that converts well for me.