Brand lessons from the Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Last month I had the honor and privilege of serving as one of the lead instructors at the annual CUES School of Strategic Marketing held in Seattle. We talked all things credit union branding and marketing for credit unions. It was a terrific week of fun and informative classes led by enthusiastic and up-and-coming credit union professionals from across the United States and Canada.

Some of the best education, however, came outside the formal classroom in the form of field trips. The first field trip was to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery which is described as “an immersive, dramatic, theatrical expression of our coffee passion …” After touring the facility, I completely agree.

One of the most intriguing elements of the tour was the opportunity to discuss the famous Starbucks corporate culture with our terrific tour guide (and now I can always say I’ve had a tour of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery with a Frenchman who left his job as a trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil to work for the famous coffee company).

Our group learned a great deal about Starbucks culture during the tour. However, one thing that particularly stuck with me came from a question I posed to our tour guide. The dialogue went something like this …


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