Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Getting less than you paid for, courtesy Starbucks

I have written before about the damage that can be done to your brand reputation by failing to meet customer expectations. Well, Starbucks, your turn.

The other day I bought one of their fruit and yogurt parfaits. This is what it looked like, before I took a single bite. No, this is not Photoshopped - it IS more than half EMPTY.

And I paid $3.95 plus tax for about 5 spoonfuls of yogurt and fruit.

Now, I know that they are positioning themselves as a premium brand with quality products and, subsequently, higher prices. I get that. But this is a clear example of the brand's inability to keep the promise they made to the consumer (this isn't the only lame parfait I've had). I expect a quality product. They charge more for their coffee than Tim Hortons does because it's better. This should be a better parfait than Tim Hortons', but it ISN'T.

My belief (created by their branding efforts) that they offer a premium product has been contradicted by the quality of the product itself. That's Damaging Your Brand, 101.

Think of it this way: If every BMW you bought only went as fast as a Kia, would you believe that they are the "ultimate driving machine"? Would you pay three times the price? Didn't think so.

  1. If you haven't already, make a clear brand promise to your customers.
  2. Deliver on that promise with all that you do.
  3. Listen to your customers and respond every time a customer's expectations have not been met.

Your turn: Any examples of the product not meeting the promise it set for itself?

Editor's note: Here's another bad example, this time courtesy Nutrition House.


Carmi said...

I guess not everybody adheres to the underpromise/overdeliver philosophy.

I'm digging deep into my memory here for a product that failed to deliver even a fraction of what was promised: the 1st generation Hyundai Excel. Arguably the worst car ever: a friend of mine once looked in his rearview and noticed parts all over the highway. Seconds later, he realized they were from HIS engine, which had just self destructed.

Yet there is hope: Hyundai is the fastest growing manufacturer on the planet, and its cars are targeting - and achieving - Lexus and BMW-like build quality. It's amazing what sustained focus can accomplish.

Glenn Cressman said...

You make a great point about SUSTAINED focus. The Excel was launched in the US in 1986 - 24 years ago! There are no quick fixes, especially when it comes to brand management.