A Digtial Handshake With Paul Chaney


Paul chaney book 9_09

Every once in awhile while there are people who enter your life and not only influence your journey but touch your heart. Paul Chaney is one of those people. In his new book The Digital Handbook Paul simply and smartly explains not only why it is now critical that marketers pay attention to social media but suggests ways of how to put the tactics into play.

Paul graciously agreed to an email interview. I asked him to tell us thought process that went into the development of The Digital Handbook. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my dear friend and colleague .. author, social media 'rock star' and a true Southern Gentleman .. Paul Chaney.

Toby/Diva Marketing: This is your second book on social media. The first, Realty Blogging, was targeted to the real estate industry while The Digital Handshake seems to be for a more general business audience.  In the few years in between the publishing of both how have you seen this emerging industry that we call “social media change?”

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: From my perspective, we’ve had two iterations. Keep in mind that in 2006-2007 I was a bit of a Rip VanWinkle in that I stepped away from active participation, only to wake up and find the world had changed. There were sites like Facebook and Twitter and I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I did realize that, unless I got with the program I was going to become archaic, a relic of the 2004-2005 blog-centric past. I determined not to allow that to happen.

Again, that was my perspective. In truth, this has been a gradual evolution in which blogs played a leading role. I think there was a lot of experimentation with social networks, starting most memorably with Friendster, then MySpace and now Facebook. We’ve seen a maturation process in terms of the degree of sophistication in the types of functionality that social networks allow, most notably Facebook. At the same time, they’ve gotten very easy to use. I know, my wife is on Facebook and if she can use it, anyone can.

I think of equal note is the movement away from purist ethics. Social media has become the latest victim of spammers and ne’er-do-wells. People who don’t understand the underlying philosophy are trying to use the genre as a direct marketing tool, and it doesn’t work. At least, I hope it doesn’t. I pray that doesn’t become the new model.

  • This medium was built on the chief cornerstones of authenticity and transparency and any attempt to “game” the system should be met with complete disdain.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Your book has been called a “road map” to understanding social media. On a road trip we start at point A to eventually get to point B. What should we take along with us on this journey?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: The journey begins by knowing the destination. I think you call that strategy. Social media needs to be used strategically, in a way that supports the marketing goals and objectives of the company. It should be treated no different than any other form of marketing and held to a similar standard.

Not only that, you need to know the rules of the road. Social media has evolved to the point where there are some pretty well-defined, if not yet written rules. Those that abide by them will be rewarded, those that don’t, well, read what I said above.

Obviously, to get anywhere, you have to have a means to travel, a vehicle. Social media offers any number of those from blogs, to social networks, to micro-blogs, to video, podcasts and on and on. You have to chose the vehicle that’s right for you in terms of your strategy and business objectives.

I think you also need route by which you travel. For me, where social media is concerned, it consists of three words: Listen, Engage and Measure. Listening is the new marketing and if people are talking (and they are) we had better know what they’re saying, who’s saying it, and where it’s being said.

Listening leads the way to engagement and given that “the CEO wants to know the ROI of SMM” we have to measure the results. Just like you’d measure your gas mileage on a trip, so to we have to assign some metrics to social media when and where it’s appropriate to do so.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Following the idea of a road trip .. some of the most fun trips are those where we go off the beaten path. Can you offer some “side trip” suggestions that would add value to a marketer’s understanding of why or how to engage in social media?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: I most certainly can and thank you for asking. I think the “side trips” have to do with the people we meet and the relationships we forge along the way. The most attractive thing about social media to me is not that I’ve been able to build a career around or that I can teach businesses how to use it to grow, but that I’ve met a bevy of people who have come to have great meaning to me, and chief among them is you Toby.

If the joy is in the journey, then it has to do with the people we meet along the way who inspire, challenge and enrich us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The Digital Handbook includes a lot of specific examples that bring to life the ideas and concepts you discuss in the book. In your research did you find any surprises regarding the way companies were using or not using social media tactics?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: No. (I’m kidding.) Actually, here’s what surprising (or not as the case may be). It’s that people are focused first on tactics and not on strategy. I don’t know that I can apply that statement to the people I interviewed, but it does apply to many I’ve met when doing workshops or giving presentations.

Over and over I hear, how do I use Facebook, or Twitter, etc? I want to tell them, it’s not all about the tools. There’s a mindset to adopt and that the tools are secondary to the marketing objectives.

I’m a tactically-oriented guy, but I’ve learned that, in order for social media to be most effective, it has to tie to strategic goals and objectives. And, it need to support and/or integrate with other forms of marketing.

Toby/Diva Marketing: It can be confusing for people who don’t “live” online to understand that relationships can be built and nurtured in the digital world. Let’s end this mini interview with this question: How you “shake hands” in the digital world?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: You know, it’s really not all that different than how you do it in the real world. Only, I being an introvert, I find it easier to do it virtually. You break the ice, find some common ground, carry on a conversation and begin the process of relationship-building. Your bio is your business card and a handshake is simply a conversation started by one party or the other.

Don’t be put off by the fact that the tools are unfamiliar. They are easy to use and don’t take long to master.

  • Social media isn’t about technology so much as it is about people. Focus on the people you’re trying to connect with, not the tools being used to do so.

Thank you Paul! Check out The Digital Handshake on Facebook and become a fan.

Monday Morn Musings - Video


The Brothers of Maxwell - a Canadian music duo - take their customer gripe with United Airlines beyond dissatisfaction into vestiges of folk music. At least to me. Video becomes folk commentary.

United Breaks Guitars reminds me of Charlie on the MTA.

Words are powerful. Even more when they're put to music. Even more when video is added. Even more powerful with the the ease of internet pass along. A customer service gripe becomes a "cause." Think about it ..

Before There Was Social Media There Were Customer Service Reps


”The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.” - Peter Drucker

Customer_service_zone350 Girlfriend, bet a dirty martini that you did not know that this is National Customer Service Week. That's nice you might say .. so what does that have to do with marketing or social media marketing. Perhaps customer service was the beginning of  social media. Think about it this way ..  before there was social media as we know it today - where people use technology to build relationships with customers online - there were people (still are of course) whose job it was to build relationships with customers with phone calls, in letters* or face-to face.

Sidebar:  *A letter is a written message from one person to another. Letters, especially a regular exchange between two persons (sometimes called pen pals), represent a kind of humanly communication and mutual friendship. Wikipedia

All too frequently customer service does not get the bright, spot light shined on it except when the customer is really, really, really unhappy. Customer service is just one of those things that you take for granted until you need it. That is the secret .. until you need it. Then when you need it .. PoW .. you want help .. NoW. Some savvy companies understand that customer service begins Before you need it.

With the onset of the internet and more recently social media customers' expectations have been raised to expect service and sensitivity in real time. Kevin O'Keefe, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, created a list of companies using Twitter as a customer service tactic: Zappos, Comcast, Dell, General Motors, H&R Block, Jet Blue, Kodak, Southwest, Whole Foods. I found that Sprint News is using Twitter also.

After reading Kevin's post, just for fun, I did a search on Twitter Search for customer service. I found lots tweets that were specific to companies. HayleyTownley hit a home run with her tweet ~ Why is it that I am shocked when I get good customer service? It should be the opposite. Sad. Very sad and too often true.

In keeping with the philosophy of Becky Carroll, Customers Rock, to show the best of .. and in celebration of Customer Service Week I thought I'd show a few tweets that sang the praises of the companies who are doing customer service right. It took 6 pages plus 1 refresh to find these:

Architek1: @ragedesigngroup customer service by @comcastcares rules.

jmang: Just got off the phone with tmobile. Out of all of the companies I have had to deal with, they have the best customer service by far.

vcope: Dell customer service via Twitter = AWESOME!!! Thanks @ChrisBatDell! :)

AlyssaEK: I give PitchEngine's customer service an A+. Way to effectively use Twitter to interact with users. If only all brands were so effective.

aaswartz: @VPG_printing Thanks for the great customer service and quick rush job for my goods!

Who knew 140 characters could be so powerful?

In this rocky economy when it is critical that every cent invested in your business influences purchase behavior there are three values to keep in mind: product/service value, price value, customer service values.

Read More

Sybil Stershic, Quality Service Marketing, has a great tribute to National Customer Service Week .. including tips on how to celebrate your employees who take care of your customers.

Becky Carroll, Customers Rock, is running a terrific series on using social media for customer loyalty. Part 1, Part 2.

Diva Marketing post - the inspirational story of Johnny the Bagger by Barbara Glanz.

Ten Simple Truths of Service

1. Great Service Inspires Stories/Memories.
Tip: Collect and record customer service stories

2. Great Service Uses Outside-The-Box Thinking
Tip: Encourage and reward creativity and innovation

3. Great Service Is A Choice
Tip: Understand the choices you have to engage with your customers. Teach employees to look for these touch points.

4. Great Service Starts With A Clear Vision

Tip: Management must first have a focused vision and be enthusiastic about the importance of excellent customer service.

5. Great Service Requires That Everyone Catch The Vision
Tip: Ensure that all employees understand and buy-into the vision

6. Great Service Surprises People
Tip: Have fun. If you're having fun at your job it will spill over to other employees and your customers

7. Great Service Begins With Anyone
Tip: Everyone in your organization is responsible for creating Little Acts of Kindness.

8. Great Service Goes The Extra Mile
Tip: Give employees the authority to Serve customers without going through channels

9. Great Service Brings Customers Back
Tip: Benchmark and monitor customer retention statistics

10. Great Customer Service Comes From The Heart
Tip: Manage on both business and human levels

Musings About Blog World Expo '08


Networking on iPhones and Blackberries. Networking in-person. Tweets on screens. Tweets on cells. Parties and People. An industry finding its way. New companies. New technology. New bloggers. Conference Word: Vulnerability

Last week I joined social media friends and colleagues at the seBusiness_growthcond Blog World Expo conference. Lots of thoughts swirling through my mind. One is that this industry continues to grow. Susan Getgood reminds us in her BWE post that challenges often accompany. My hopes are that the newly formed International Blogger and New Media Association (I'm on the board) will bring direction, cohesion, credibility .. and ease a bit of the pain that Susan identified.

Friday night Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, and Jen Openshaw, WeSeed, coordinated a girlfriends in Las Vegas dinner. What a great way to kick of the weekend. And what a treat to be among amazing women who are pioneers in social media. Girlfriend, I've the perfect excuse for you to visit Hawaii -- Hawaii Podcamp .. the diva making this one happen is Roxanne Darling, Beach Walks With Rox.

Last year some of my greatest learnings came from sessions outside of my comfort zone - military and sports blogging. This year I sat in on a God Blog session and listened intently to the Andrew Jones, Tall Skinny Kiwi, tell his story about faith blogs. He begin with a light hearted joke .. You might be a faith blogger if .. My favorite .. You're a faith blogger if your prayers are 140 characters or less because that's all Twitter allows.

My big take away from Andrew's talk (slides) was ~

A blog should not be a well. It should be a spring. ~

Although Andrew put it into a religious context, his concept makes perfect sense to me not only for blogs but for social media in general. Think about it .. a well contains stagnant waters. Stagnation occurs when there is no new flow of water. Blogs, social networks, wikis and all the other tools/tactics allow for and encourage fresh water or new ideas to flow.

Sidebar: I often say that the blogopshere/social media is comprised of many, many villages. There is the business blog village where Diva Marketing resides and then the mommy blog, golf blog, healthcare blog, beauty blog, race horse blog "villages" and more. The God blog/faith blog village is one of the most active. Skip over to the interview I did with Lead Pastor of the National Community Church - David Mark Batterson - for some insights into this most interesting "village."

Caught the end of a session based on enterprise case studies. Rohit Bhargava, Influential Marketing Blog, offered lessons learned from the Ogilvy Ford Taurus blogger outreach program.

1. Know your product. 2. Tap into something they (bloggers/customers) know they can do. 3. Search visibility is a valid KPT 4. Provides valid opinions from real people

Rockstarmedal It was Anne Plese's great story about how she turned a team of Cisco engineers into blogging rock stars and went from a focus on tradition marketing to social marketing that caught my interest. Goals were to grow wallet share and relevancy for a new product. The bloggers were positioned as "assets."  Wow! the light bulb went on. Although I have thought of bloggers as a value-add component to a marketing strategy, I never went as far as to use the term "asset." Brilliant.

In addition to writing their own posts the bloggers continued to actively participated in relevant conversations. Actually that's how they initially began as commenters on other people's blogs. It was Anne's vision to give them a platform (their own blogs) where they could also move the discussion into Cisco's world. In addition, the blogger relations program bloggers were given direct access to the engineers who built the product.  Results - at least $250,000 in cost savings. Watch for an in depth interview with Anne on Diva Marketing coming soon!

Jennifer Openshaw, WeSeed, and Spike Jones, Brains on Fire, spoke about reaching and connecting with women by building long-term movements not short-term campaigns. Jen and Spike reminded the (mostly women) audience that credibility comes from being vulnerable. Spike shared the case behind the successful Fisk-A-Teers ..or how an orange pair of scissors created a community of crafters. Jen reinforced that the way to a women's heart is: to make life easier, your product relevant, the experience fun. Looking forward to the innovative investment site she's about to launch targeted to women which includes her tips: easy, relevant, fun. Lesson Learned: A person with passion can be more "influential" than an "influencer."

Pink_boa Toss a pink boa to Becky Carroll, Customers Rock and Des Walsh, Thinking Home Business who invited me to share the stage with them and the talented people on their panels. Tweets of Becky's panel - Creating Customer Loyalty with Social Media (with Brian Solis, and "brand tweeters": Frank Eliason, Comcast, Tony Hsieh, Zappos)- from @pblackshaw, @dbrazeal, @beckylicious721. Tweets of Des' panel - Getting Customer Buy-in & Managing Client Relationships (with Rich Brooks and Robyn Tippins)- from @trishussey, @dbrazeal, @waderockett. Be sure to catch Becky's blog series on Customers Rock about using social media for customer service.

More pink boa tosses .. Average Jane for walking the trade show floor with me. Smiles from Glenda Watson Hyatt, whose thumbs .. right and left .. are in amazingly great shape. Dinner with Paul Chaney and his diva wife Aime while watch Las Vegas from the skies. Jay Berkowitz's "quiet" dinner which was a great chance to actually sit down & hear people talk. Geoff Livingston for including me in his video series with uber cool peeps. Finally! meeting James Andrews and Ellen Marden who is picture perfect. Liz Strauss (slides from her presentation), David Berkowitz (great A-Z wrap post of the event!) Tish Grier, Tris Hussey, Nicole Simon and Matt Dickman and well you know who you are .. but more important I do too. Thanks for a great weekend.

Oh .. the next time you see me walking through an airport I'll be reading on my new Kindle_new_york_times Kindle I won from Newstex. Sweet!

Thanks to Mike Elgan for the Kindle image.

Life Happens


... life just happens.  However, every once in awhile when you round a corner, when you least expect it, you bump into something  that causes you to pause. No where is that more magical than in New York City.

Peny_park Big bronze pennies leading to whimsical art, created by local sculpture Tom Otterness, was one of the many little surprises that my friend Kate introduced me to during our walk along Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City) this weekend. I found it interesting that the name of this wee park is The Real World but the children call it Penny Park. I couldn't help but think .. what's real and what is play and how as adults we loose our sense of wonder and miss the moments of delight.

It's only a description of what I see in New York: the constant clash between people walking on the same street, living in the same world. I see small vignettes of meaning, but the connection between the events is beyond my understanding. Tom Otterness

Later that night Otterness' words would ring true for me. In a NYC taxi my aunt lost her purse. Panic set in as she was told by the 311 operator that due to the holiday weekend no one would be able to help her for 7 long days. Her lost money and cell phone were not so much a concern as her identification. How much of a hassle would it entail to get through TSA security? Life can be so complex.

The cabbie had found her purse. Taken the initiative to call several people from her phone list who in turn called family who was with my aunt. Happily ever after occurred when this good samaritan took time out from his job to return her pocket book.

I see small vignettes of meaning, but the connection between the events is beyond my understanding.

What might this have to do with marketing, or branding you may ask? In my way of thinking it is a reminder that be it taxi rides or art it's the people who we touch .. who we connect with who matter.  For me social media marketing is making that happen more so every day. Because business is personal.

(HP) Social Media Means NOTHING If Your Internal Processes Are Broken


To: Smart corporate marketers who are including social media / Web 2.0 strategies
From: Your customers

Blogs, podcasts, videos, communities building, social networking, widgets and gidgets and digg and Twitter and the ten thousand other technologies are worth NOTHING if your internal processes are broken.

Forget about how to create, measure and analyze the buzz about your brand. It means NOTHING if your internal processes are broken.

My friend Marianne Richmond details a very frustrating story of how HP is playing games with the education of Sam - a high school freshman - whose HP laptop has been zonked (I think that's a technical word) since November 2007 ..  with no resolution dispute hours with tech support, emails to bloggers, on and on. What adds insult to injury is that this is the company that boasts not 1 or 2 or 10 or 15 or 20 but over 50 HP blogs along with podcasts and other social media initiatives. There is even one about social media by Scott Berg. They all mean NOTHING because internal processes are broken. 

HP, I'd like to introduce you to two of your customers SamSam_richmond and his mom Marianne,  Marianne who are about to go MAC. Well, HP  you might say, the loss of one high school student and his mom .. no big deal. It's not like they are a Fortune 100 company where you might have opportunity for an account with hundreds perhaps thousands of orders.

Oh, by the way, HP if you or one of your 50+ bloggers happen to be listening to this conversation, I forgot to mention one minor detail. Mom Marianne is a highly respected blogger. Her post - HP: Customer Experience Disconnect might influence as many potential customers as that one Fortune 100 account. 

Some times life shows us some unexpected humor this cartoon Gaping_void_love_hate_2 from gapingvoid.com was next to Marianne's post.

Lessons Learned:

  • Social media is more than a well written blog.
  • Social media changes how we conduct business.
  • In developing your social media strategy do not neglect a review of internal processes. How will information be disseminated?
  • In the nano second world of the Internet, internal systems must be developed to ensure rapid responses to questions and problems.
  • Excellent customer service is not a nice to have .. it's critical.
  • Listening in on conversations means NOTHING if you can't take corrective action .. immediately.

Lessons From Christmas 1947


Christmas 1947. Before blogs, micro blogging or building online communities.

The CEO of a major retail organization briefs the company's ad department. "No high pressuring and forcing the customer to take something he doesn't want. We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

With those words Macy's Department Store launched the most innovative sales program ever viewed...on the silver screen. It was a Miracle on 34th StreetMiracle_on_34th_street

Fast forward 57 years. The use of the internet is one of the most exciting sales and marketing strategies we've seen in the last 60 years. However, in this model there is no room for high-pressure sales techniques. The customer is in control of the brand experience.

Include a social media strategy to the marketing mix and another dimension is added. The company steps out from behind the shadows of traditional PR, customer service and research (all valid in their own right) and declares it's ready to listen and learn from prospects and customers...on the their terms.

It's not afraid (okay perhaps there are a few wobbles) to show the world that there might be a few warts. That's a giant step from old world marketing to open communication new world marketing.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As the year 2008 approaches, high-tech developments spin even faster taking the possibilities of internet marketing into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '07.

Imagine a site that holds current inventory and pricing, allows for on-line financing and results in better, faster cheaper processing.

Imagine a site that allows for product customization.

Imagine a site where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a site where you can talk to a real person who doesn't respond with an FAQ list.

Imagine a site where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine a site where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care.

Imagine a site where you can talk to people about their experiences and learn from each other.

Imagine a company that doesn't close the door (or comment section) to you or your ideas.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2007 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious.

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the the:



-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Max_dec_07_1 And with that Max and I wish you a very merry holiday!

Sidebar: Based on an article written for Marketing News

A Little Customer Care


To: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (and many other airports)
From: A Frequent Customer
Date: October 17, 2007
Subject: Customer Service

Please take a lesson from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport: friendly volunteers greet customers entering the main concourse area, interesting shops and great fast food burritos. However, the very best is  "For your convenience, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport proudly provides Wireless Access to the Intern, without charge."

In fact, the airport has a customer service policy that puts customers first with a vision to create "Americans friendliest airport."

At Sky Harbor, customer service is second only to security. Ensuring a positive experience for all who visit and/or interact with the Airport in any way is a top priority for all aviation staff.

Now if they would add some social media .. would be very cool!

Off to find that burrito before I take to the friendly skies!

Friday Fun: New Blogger Story Chapters


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

"A little piece of history in the making"  is what Lois Kelly, one of the newest story tellers calls Blogger Stories.

Books_old Blogger Stories is a special blog that I launched to tell the stories of how people have been touched by blogs, podcasts, vlogs and other online interactions. The virtual library is almost at 90 "chapters" that have been contributed by bloggers from all over the world.

The little website with the odd name is influencing lives more than one might imagine. For the three new blogger story tellers blogs renewed interest and gave new meaning to their career directions.

Sherry Heyl, What a Concept! Sherry's Blogger Story
Mark Goren, Transmission Content + Creative Mark's Blogger Story
Lois Kelly, The Foghound Bloghound Lois' Blogger Story

The next time you're on a boring conference call .. don't doodle. Read a Blogger Story! Want to tell your Blogger Story? Drop a comment and I'll send you the details.

In keeping with stories, it's been a media kinda day for me. I was quoted about blogs and social media in articles about two different industries, financial and food/restaurants, that are stepping into the world of people talking to people communication.

Restaurant News, Restaurants wade into social media to hook virtual customers written by Liza Berger. Unfortunately a subscription is need to access content on the site. Thanks to BBF Stephan Spencer for the introduction to Liza.

Growing up in Boston made my interview with Jesse Noyes, of the Boston Herald, a special treat. Jess wanted to understand why and how organizations are tapping into bloggers for his story - Wainwright Bank plans a meeting with liberal bloggers.  Very interesting that a financial institution is developing a program that solicits bloggers' feedback. However, in more "banking culture" than "bloggy culture" the bank is not revealing much about its strategy.

Jesse reported that Wainwright Bank "wouldn’t divulge many details about the planned meeting with liberal bloggers."  "This is all exploratory,” said Steve Young, senior vice president at Wainwright Bank. “There are certain people who are invited to meet us.”

Josh Ourisman, who writes the On The Other Hand blog, was asked to the party. He was also asked to extend the invitation to join Wainwright Bank's bloggy talk to Boston/Cambridge/Somerville progressive bloggers. I'm not sure what progressive blogger means. However, I can't help but wonder if Wainwright Bank is also developing relationships with bloggers in their target market which might include business owners, homeowners (there is a village in the blogosphere that focuses on home ownership not to mention a lively real estate community) and non profits.

Since Wainwright Bank is monitoring the social media buzz I'd like to extend an invitation to Steve Young, or any of the bank's folks to drop by and give us a few lessons learned about their blogger relations program and if they launch a social media initiative I'd love to know that too. Pink_boa In the  meantime toss of  a pink  boa to an innovative financial instituion.

One more thought to ponder. This post is an example of how a story can go from a traditional main stream media source, a la the Boston Herald or Restaurant News, to a blog where the information is further extended and virally pass along. Hmmm, girlfriend, can't help but wonder how many of MSM (main stream media) are building blogger relations programs. Perhaps they should take their cue from a traditional industry like banking (wink).  And so dear divas and divos the media lines continue to blur.

Help Starbucks Get Its Groove Back


Starbucks_cup Where oh where is the heart and soul of Starbucks? How can Starbucks get its groove back?

johnmoore, Brand Autopsy, wants to help out his pals at Starbucks. He sent a few bloggy pals the following email this afternoon -

  • I’m sure you’ve heard about the leaked Howard Schultz memo to key Starbucks executives.  In this memo, Howard derides decisions the company has made in order to grow.  Howard closes the email by asking his executive team to get smarter about the business and to get more innovative to once again differentiate Starbucks.
  • Taking blatant inspiration from Seth Godin’s WHAT MUST GOOGLE DO ebook done a few years ago, I’m doing a WHAT MUST STARBUCKS DO ebook.  It’ll be totally free and posted somewhere online for all to download.  And just as Seth did, I’ve asked people to send me their ideas on what Starbucks must do to become the company it once was.  The crux of this ebook will be the ideas generated by the "Starbucks Board of Customers."

Here's what I sent johnmoore -

Thanks for asking me to play along .. Here's my 2 cents, which we know won't even buy the opportunity for a deep breath of java aroma at SB. Ooops.. there is none!

Starbucks built its success on the warmth of the experience more so than the excellence of the coffee. The neighborhood coffee shop where "everyone knows your name" or your coffee of choice must begin with the baristas and ends with the baristas. The in between details are the foam on the java that should reinforce the sense of local community.

My suggestions to would begin at marketing 101 - understanding your customers and their needs. That might result in jazz nights with area musicians or cookies from an area bakery instead of a corporate buy. Or it might mean a play area for kids with moms in one city or more outlets for laptops in another neighborhood.  It might even mean giving up some of the 'corporate' cookie cutter standardization. I wonder if  Starbucks is really ready to "be" that neighborhood shop once again?

If you want to play along all the details are on the What Must Starbucks Do post at Brand Autopsy.