Out of the Blue: PR Measurement News

Friday, April 18, 2008 Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: A Plain Copy of Coffee at Starbucks. What's the World Coming To?   VOLUME 3 ISSUE 8  
A Plain Cup of Coffee at Starbucks: What’s the World Coming To?
Monday Morning Media Minute
Tell The World

Enter your email address in the box below to receive an email each time we post a new issue of our newsletter:

Add Remove
Send as HTML

Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: The Guilty Pleasures of Peeps
March 16, 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 7
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Losing Face on Facebook
February 27, 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 6
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Wait 'Til They Count The Votes?
January 20, 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 5
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Resolving To Be Flawed
December 21, 2007
Vol. 3 Issue 4
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Foolproof Plan For Getting Rich
November 18, 2007
Vol. 3 Issue 3
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Sneaky Math -- Calculations For Curious Kids
October 15, 2007
Vol. 3 Issue 2
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Turning Blue Over Being Green
September 24, 2007
Vol. 3 Issue 1
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Bulletproof the Kids?
August 14, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 12
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: iConfess. iDon't Own an iPhone
July 17, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 11
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Is There Any Light?
June 14, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 10
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Barry Bonds' "Remarkable" Feat
May 14, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 9
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Ponyhawk and Earplugs-Reviving My Singing Career
April 20, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 8
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Bringing Back The CEO
March 23, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 7
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: War of Words
February 28, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 6
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Dinner of Champions
February 22, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 5
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Jerradamus
January 23, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 4
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Do You Hear What I Hear?
December 12, 2006
Vol. 2 Issue 3
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Viral: Virtual, Voracious and Vital
October 21, 2006
Vol. 2 Issue 2
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Read 'Em and Weep
September 14, 2006
Vol. 2 Issue 1
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: The Sweet Smell of Diapers
August 11, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 9

Public Relations Measurement
Other PR Topics (not measurement)
April 18, 2008
A Plain Cup of Coffee at Starbucks: What’s the World Coming To?
From fame to oblivion: A path well traveled.
by Jerry Brown


When I moved to Denver 30 years ago there was a Radio Shack on like every other corner.

I was keenly aware of this at the time because Radio Shack was one of my oldest son's favorite places to visit. So, I saw the inside of a lot of them. He was in the second or third grade at the time, a techno-wizard even then.

I'll let you in on a little secret, because you may not have noticed: Most of those Radio Shacks are gone. Just disappeared.

Maybe They Just Needed Batteries for the Flying Saucers

I've found myself wondering from time to time where they went. I mean it's weird, just disappearing like that. Sucked up by aliens, perhaps, for some bizarre extraterrestrial experiment we'll ultimately read about in those tabloids at the grocery checkout lines.

Actually, I have a new theory about what happened to them -- they morphed into Starbucks outlets. Think about it. Then: A Radio Shack on every other corner. Now: A Starbucks on every other corner; no Radio Shacks. Hmmmm. I think I'm onto something.

Well, okay, maybe not. More likely they're just another in a long string of companies unable to maintain their brand loyalty.

Radio Shack once was a powerful brand in the world of consumer electronics. Today, it's all but dead. Going from the top of the heap to the bottom is more common than you might think.

Back in the days when I did a lot of speechwriting, a colleague came across a list the top 25 companies from 75 years before. Only four or five were still around.

That was in the 1990s. If you dug up a list of the top brands from that era, a lot of them would be gone -- or diminished to the point where they don't matter very much any more.

But Spam and Wonder Bread Are Going Strong

When I was a kid, Montgomery Ward (or Monkey Ward, as my parents called it), J.C. Penney and Sears dominated the national retail department store scene -- along with local department store brands unique to each city. Montgomery Ward is gone. Penney's and Sears are shadows of their former selves. And most of the locally owned department stores are long gone, totally defunct or swallowed up by companies like Dillard's and Macy's.

Among the iconic brands of the past that are gone: U.S. Steel, Firestone, Texaco, Oldsmobile, MCI and Pan Am. The AT&T name is still around but it's not the company once known as Ma Bell.

And I recently came across a story about big companies that may not be around at the end of this year. The list included Motorola, Sears, Citigroup, Ford, Yahoo!, Sprint and Qwest.

An Apple a Day Keeps Steve Jobs in Pay

Some of the companies on that list probably will survive. Who knows, some may even make a comeback. Remember when Apple was being written off as dead by the "experts"?

But even Starbucks is feeling the heat. Per-store sales are down for the first time. Will Starbucks someday be on the list of iconic brands relegated to the junk heap of history?

Starbucks Measurements

That's quite possible, of course. But Starbucks is doing something decidedly different than most of the companies that have gone from icons to bygones. They're asking their customers to help shape the future of their company.1

Any Tom, Dick or Harriet can log onto mystarbucksidea.com and post their ideas about how Starbucks can improve. You can even discuss and vote on ideas posted by other people.

Starbucks got a lot of free, expert advice -- worth every penny they paid for it, I'm sure -- about why letting customers offer up ideas and (gasp) criticism in public was a bad idea.

But Starbucks seems to think it's a good idea. The Web site's still going strong. People are still offering suggestions. And Starbucks is putting some of them into action. You can even get just plain coffee at Starbucks now. Amazing.

Asking customers what you should do to keep them coming back? What a concept.

What are you doing to keep customers loyal to your brand?

1Yahoo!News 4/1/2008-4/28/2008.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jerry Brown committed journalism for 20 years, but received a full pardon. He's been practicing public relations for more than 20 years and plans to keep practicing until he gets it right -- which he hopes takes a long time because he likes what he does. He specializes in strategy and message development, media relations and media training and writing (news releases, annual reporters, collateral, etc.). He also writes the Monday Morning Media Minute, a free weekly media tip distributed by e-mail. You can reach him at jerry@pr-impact.com / 303-781-8787.

Published by Blue Marble Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright © 2008 Blue Marble Enterprises, Inc.. All rights reserved.

What is this? This is an e-mail newsletter to inform you of ideas, products, services and trends in PR measurement. The intent of this newsletter is to inform or provoke thought in a humorous way.

Why did you get it? Out of the Blue news is intended to be for interested professionals in the business of public relations. You received this message because you have asked to be on the Blue Marble Enterprises Newsletter distribution list, requested PR measurement service samples or you belong to a public relations organization or corporate PR department that published your email address. Please share it with anyone you think might be interested. If you would like to see a topic addressed by Out of the Blue, send your request to us at outoftheblue@blue-marble.com. To be removed from the distribution list, use the subscription box in the left frame of the newsletter.

Privacy statement: We will not share your name or contact information with anyone for any reason without your explicit approval in advance.

Powered by IMN