It’s a Sign.
There are a couple of Starbucks locations in town that are currently undergoing a remodel.
The first, I saw a few weeks ago when I was swinging by for a grande Pike on my way to a campus visit:
Notice the spray-painted “CLOSED” sign (I mean, how could you not notice?). I thought that this particular choice of professionalism was…interesting.
But I didn’t think much more about it until the Starbucks closest to my house closed for their own refresh. Here’s their signage choice:
At this point, Starbucks’ temporary remodel signage is not an anomaly. It may be an oversight. It may be an outright choice. But when it’s happening at two stores across town from each other, it’s not an unfortunate hiccup made in a moment of hasty decision by a construction worker.
Their decision not to choose was a decision to choose. In other words: failure to pick quality signage means a vote against quality signage.
Let’s review the facts: Starbucks is a $25 billion dollar global brand. They employ almost 300,000 people in 24,000 stores in over 70 countries on the planet. A company that size doesn’t just stroll into a remodel. No, there’s a process: plans are drawn up (or selected from a template), architects are consulted, local codes are reviewed, contractors are hired, employees are shuffled, and timelines are laid out.
Somewhere in that process, someone should ask the question about signage. Because for all of the professionalism and global reach of the king of coffee, spray-painted, hand-written, or worse (what is that jumble of letters, anyway?) sign communicates something that I don’t think the company wants to communicate: they were too cheap – or too short-sighted – to drop a hundred bucks on a professionally-printed banner.
They didn’t think through it.
They don’t care about quality.
They overlooked an important detail.
As a Starbucks regular, I have no way of knowing what’s happening behind the construction walls, but I can easily see the one thing happening on the outside of it. And it doesn’t increase my confidence in or loyalty to the brand.
In his book Tribal Knowledge, former Starbucks marketing honcho John Moore says this:
Because the customer experience at Starbucks is the marketing for Starbucks, everything matters.
Not just one thing…E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Everything matters because everything is an act of communication with customers…You’d be hard pressed to find a Starbucks employee say, “That doesn’t matter. No customer will ever notice it.” Because chances are a customer will notice. And that’s why EVERYTHING MATTERS to Starbucks.
(Maybe it’s time for Starbucks to bring Moore back on a contract basis.)
In the church world, your signage (or lack of it) and your quality (or lack of it) is a sign of something deeper. What is is communicating?
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