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by Mike Dabadie

Marketing Miracles

Categories: 2014, MarchTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

When deal­ing with peo­ple, let us remem­ber we are not deal­ing with crea­tures of logic. We are deal­ing with crea­tures of emo­tion, crea­tures bustling with prej­u­dices and moti­vated by pride and van­ity.
—Dale Carnegie

In today’s mar­ket­ing world we can be con­fi­dent and cer­tain of two impor­tant facts:

1. The days when mar­keters or those who develop prod­ucts could sim­ply tell the con­sumer what they would have are over. While Steve Jobs in his own world might have thought that he could pre­dict what a per­son needed in life, before that indi­vid­u­als real­ized it, the real­ity of today’s hyper-connected mar­ket­place means that con­sumers are in the dri­ver seat and want to be included in the con­ver­sa­tion of buy­ing, using, and sharing.

2. While cof­fee is a mas­ter­ful prod­uct that is becom­ing ever more approach­able, it is a dis­ser­vice to not reflect on the emo­tional and phys­i­cal power of the ben­e­fits that such a tiny green bean can unleash upon an indi­vid­ual when trans­formed for con­sump­tion. And these per­sonal ben­e­fits are not just what cof­fee insid­ers think, it is from the heart and mind of the consumer.

Over the years and from many con­ver­sa­tions with cof­fee drinkers of all pro­files, a mindmap of how Americans think ratio­nally and emo­tion­ally about cof­fee can be drawn. Based on the point-of-view of the con­sumer, this blue­print lit­er­ally pro­vides the means of look­ing at the met and unmet needs of the indi­vid­ual, how exist­ing and new prod­ucts can be best posi­tioned, how busi­ness exec­u­tives see the impor­tance of work­place ben­e­fits such as cof­fee, and where the indus­try can uncover new oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth.

Slide1

The image shown here pro­vides the pos­i­tive path­ways of how con­sumers think of cof­fee from prod­uct attrib­utes to per­sonal val­ues. These are the sto­ries of how peo­ple see and talk about the rel­e­vancy of cof­fee in their lives. And these sto­ries reveal for us the power of both what is known and what is pos­si­ble. From these var­i­ous ori­en­ta­tions we can gar­ner sev­eral impor­tant learn­ings and opportunities.

There are two macro sto­ries for cof­fee: one address­ing value and social­iza­tion, and the other is address­ing health and per­for­mance. Think of the social­iza­tion aspect as the “we” and the per­for­mance as the “me.”

Both of these ulti­mately lead to the per­sonal value of accom­plish­ment and self-esteem. That may sound like a long way from a cup in the morn­ing to deep psy­chol­ogy, but in fact if you think about the story of what cof­fee can do for you and how it makes you feel, the jour­ney is not that far. This is a prod­uct that elic­its deep feel­ings both socially and individually.

So how does a mindmap like this work in mar­ket­ing? Consider these few exam­ples and then think of how you could fit your offer­ing in what con­sumers are look­ing for now or into the future.

• The tagline, “The best part of wak­ing up is Folgers in your cup,” is a clas­sic expres­sion that com­bines the ele­ments of smell/aroma to wak­ing up to get­ting started. And in many adver­tise­ments, the Folgers ads have astutely linked this to stronger fam­ily rela­tion­ships and a sense of belong­ing that is visu­ally shown.

• Single-serve con­tin­ues to explode in pop­u­lar­ity and plays directly to cof­fee drinkers want­ing a vari­ety of choices, to sat­is­fy­ing a crav­ing for a par­tic­u­lar type of drink, to sup­port­ing the con­fi­dence that one has that they made the right choice, and ulti­mately lead­ing to per­sonal pride and self-esteem.

• The National Coffee Association (NCA) and the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) con­tinue to pub­lish the pos­i­tive phys­i­o­log­i­cal impact that cof­fee con­sump­tion has on humans, both green and roasted! Coffee not only pro­duces an emo­tive response, but a phys­i­cal one as well. Consumers view this in terms of feel­ing phys­i­cally bet­ter and an improved men­tal state. In this case, improved health leads directly to improved per­sonal per­for­mance tied back to coffee.

• Although the idea of third wave cof­fee is just tak­ing hold, the premise is that cof­fee should not be looked upon as a com­mod­ity, but rather as an expe­ri­ence. Indeed, if those in the indus­try want to under­stand how to seed a co-creative, col­lab­o­ra­tive, and customer-centric move­ment founded on higher order com­mu­nity impact, look no fur­ther than these val­ues. Chipotle did it with the Crow Foods video story.

But the big oppor­tu­nity, as one can see from the image, is a desire for less stress in life and a feel­ing of reju­ve­na­tion. This acts as a “bridge” between the social and the per­for­mance ori­en­ta­tions, which is a space that not many cof­fee brands or prod­ucts tend to play today. If there is mar­ket­ing “white space” in the cof­fee cat­e­gory, this is it – for now. In every soci­ety, per­sonal val­ues do not tend to rapidly change. Whereas prod­ucts and ser­vices come and go and are highly influ­enced by short-term events, the fun­da­men­tal human desire for pride, hap­pi­ness, suc­cess, secu­rity, self-esteem, and accom­plish­ment is con­stant. Coffee yes­ter­day, today, and tomor­row is a story of human val­ues. Lets tell the stories.

Mike Dabadie is the founder of Heart+Mind Strategies, LLC, a research con­sul­tancy that con­tin­ues to pio­neer the use of personal-values insights and mar­ket­ing. He can be reached at mdabadie@heartandmindstrategies.com.

The View

Categories: 2012, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The cof­fee indus­try has always been respon­sive to the needs of oth­ers, espe­cially in the coun­tries that grow our prod­ucts. This is par­tic­u­larly true around the Christmas hol­i­day sea­son. However, it is some­times dif­fi­cult for small com­pa­nies to cre­ate a mean­ing­ful mes­sage for giv­ing that brings out the best angels in employ­ees and customers.

Recently, at an event hosted by Fonté Coffee Roasters at their down­town café at the Harbor Steps (in Seattle), I was sur­rounded by happy, cup­cake filled pre-schoolers. They were from the Pike Place Market Day Care Center just down the street. The rea­son for all of us being there was to cel­e­brate a dona­tion of $11,000 to cover the costs of sup­plies for the school for a year! Fonté con­tributed a part of their sales dur­ing the Christmas sea­son toward this gift. The size of the check even sur­prised Paul Odom, the owner of Fonté, who was alive with pride at being able to help this local non-profit serve its students.

What sur­prised Odom was the enor­mous jump in sales at the café. It was a direct result of his cus­tomers’ favor­able response to sup­port­ing this neigh­bor­hood day­care cen­ter. “We have never had hol­i­day sales like this ever before,” said Odom.

Fonté is not a giant com­pany; it has lim­ited resources made all the more scarce by the abid­ingly high cost of green cof­fees. Odom has inten­tion­ally not sought the big-time instead dri­ving an insa­tiable need for extreme qual­ity for a truly dis­cern­ing audi­ence. This sea­son, Odom wanted to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity but was con­fronted by a ques­tion of scale.

Why the pre-school?” I asked Odom.

He thought for a moment, then he said that every­one in the cof­fee indus­try wants to give back in some way, but that most com­pa­nies, espe­cially roast­ers, are faced with choices that often are so big, so dis­tant, and so daunt­ing that small com­pa­nies sim­ply feel that their con­tri­bu­tion would be too lit­tle to make a dif­fer­ence. The money that Fonté would poten­tially raise would not make a dent in a water project in Zambia, or a health care project in Guatemala. And, even though those types of projects are wor­thy and all con­tri­bu­tions help, it was not soul sat­is­fy­ing for Odom and his small com­pany. The scale was all wrong.

Odom is a cere­bral guy; talk­ing with him is like hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Steve Jobs. His thoughts range eas­ily across the past, the now, and the future as if he might be strolling on a cat­walk that is above our heads. You can­not lead a micro roaster for 20 volatile years with­out hav­ing a vision few oth­ers can fathom. The path­ways he chooses to fol­low are often instruc­tive, so a ques­tion like “Why the pre-school” can lead to new and valu­able ideas for the rest of us.

It is that ques­tion of scale. We all want to make a dif­fer­ence, to move the dial a lit­tle toward a vis­i­ble pos­i­tive out­come. Odom saw that his small con­tri­bu­tion would not have a last­ing impres­sion on his employ­ees and him­self if it were only a drop in the bucket toward some grand goal. He wanted to make a real impact, so when a retail cus­tomer approached him about sup­port­ing the Pike Place Market Pre-school a light went off. Here were pos­si­bil­i­ties. By focus­ing on buy­ing sup­plies for the school, Fonté would make a firm pos­i­tive impact on the lives of these small kids for the entire year.

It goes with­out say­ing that orga­ni­za­tions with global reach and with large goals…alleviating poverty in Guatemala, malaria nets in Tanzania, and oth­ers also need con­tri­bu­tions and help from every­one. They require our ongo­ing sup­port and year-round con­tri­bu­tions. But, dur­ing the hol­i­days, is this the kind of con­tri­bu­tion that will moti­vate local cus­tomers and employ­ees of small com­pa­nies? Maybe not.

By stop­ping and look­ing around at his own com­mu­nity, he dis­cov­ered folks right here in Seattle that would think that his effort was huge and would have a last­ing effect. By think­ing local, Fonté was able to have a real and imme­di­ate impact. I think that this idea of look­ing for the cor­rect scale for a con­tri­bu­tion is impor­tant, not because it gives great press but because it gives mean­ing to the effort. Employees at the roast­ery and the café have a clear pic­ture of what was accom­plished, cus­tomers knew that kids right in the neigh­bor­hood would ben­e­fit from each cup of cof­fee, these urban kids will have a bet­ter qual­ity of edu­ca­tion and, who knows, maybe one day one of them will find the cure for malaria.

For small com­pa­nies, maybe we should not only buy local and sell local, but also give local. Who knows…something to think about. Looking at these very much alive three and four year olds eat­ing Holiday cook­ies, I have to say yes.

Cheers,
Miles & Kerri