[Second in a series of posts on Starbucks Tribal Knowledge]
To put it simply, remarkable businesses make the common uncommon.
Apple made the common computer uncommon.
Toyota Prius made the common car uncommon.
In-N-Out Burger made the common fast food hamburger uncommon.
Method made the common hand soap uncommon.
Whole Foods Market made the common grocery store uncommon.
And Starbucks made the common cup of coffee uncommon.
Before Starbucks, the common cup of coffee could best be described as a hot, brown liquid. A drink to be endured for its jumpstart your day benefits of caffeine.
Coffee’s purpose then was as a caffeine delivery vehicle. And established brands like Folger’s, Maxwell House, Brim, etc. were the most popular caffeine delivery vehicles on the market. It seemed people were satisfied with their instant coffee ritual so long as it gave them a jolt.
But Starbucks wasn’t satisfied doing coffee like everyone else. Starbucks believed coffee should be enjoyed for its rich, strong, and densely-sophisticated flavors and not simply endured for its caffeine pick-me-up qualities.
Starbucks would have failed in the marketplace (and more importantly, failed themselves) if they did coffee like everyone else — light roast, light flavor, cheap low-grade coffee, and cheap low-impact experiences.
Instead, Starbucks has taken the common cup of coffee and made it uncommon by focusing on higher-quality coffee beans and higher-quality coffee experiences. What once was something to be endured, Starbucks made into something to be enjoyed. Something to experience.
Starbucks Tribal Knowledge tells us businesses can find prosperity from a selling commodity so long as they can make the common uncommon … and uncommonly great at that.