Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bean there, done that

Sorry, I simply couldn't resist that, doubly cliched as it may be, considering I'm talking about coffee in this post.

Over the weekend I met up with friends from a social network I'm a part of and we decided to go to Caribou Coffee.

Now, I'm not trying to sell Caribou Coffee's attributes here, I was simply reminded of something Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Blink and which was expounded on by Seth Godin.

Tell a story, and make the first impression.

When I walked in, I was immediately greeted by their staff who opened the door for me, and as I walked over to the counter to place an order, the counter-staff asked 'would you like to remember your evening with a hot beverage or a cold one?'

That got me thinking. I hadn't thought of something like this at all, all I had initially thought of when I entered was getting a drink, and I expected the typical attitude and monotonous scripted dialogue the counter-staff usually ask.

Now they'd caught me off guard and forced me to think in a split second what I wanted out of my evening - or at least the coming two hours.

I started imagining their hot latte's taste in my mouth with the view of the sunset over Qasba Canal in Sharjah, or perhaps their ice-blended macchiatto while I watched the fountain as I spoke with my friends.

Do you see what happened here? They made me think not only of my evening, but WHICH OF THEIR COFFEES would I want with my evening. They made me think of the taste which only they as Caribou Coffee would offer.

Needless to say, I changed my status on Facebook to 'I love Caribou's service', and in a couple of hours got 13 'likes' and 2 of them asked 'Why?' to which I obviously had to respond with details.

What I'm trying to say here is: talk about your product like it is a part of your consumers' lives already, not like its something that is GOING to be a part of it.

If they perceive an existing relationship, even if there isn't one, they may well cross that threshold of buying from you to solidify said relationship.

Take that, Starbucks!

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