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Starbucks VIA



On Tuesday, at the MDeC Brand Mastery Series workshop we discussed the wonderment of the coffee specialist and participants shared their passion for Starbucks.

Some preferred the strong coffee taste, others the not so bitter taste, yet others preferred the ambience, the comfy chairs, etc but nett nett we all agreed that one of the most compelling reason people frequent a Starbucks outlet is the fact that they are fulfilling an inherent need to want to be seen there.

I suppose because Starbucks aka the coffee specialists, therefore by association the people who hang out there are coffee connoisseurs who can also afford to pay ten ringgit for a cup of black coffee. The premium image is tempting appeal.

Also an interesting fact shared by Starbucks fan-Omar Sharif, is that 70% of their customers are female which could suggest that the ladies are more brand conscious than their male counterpart.

Be that as it may, as much as there are Starbucks lovers, coffee lovers or simply the Starbucks brand lovers, the business side of Starbucks has taken a big hit in recent times. To date they have closed down over 1,000 outlets and laid-off 6,000 workers. Even founder Howard Schultz was made to return as CEO early last year to help in its turnaround.

And as part of Schultz’s turnaround plan, Starbucks launched Via instant coffee yesterday. They are setting out to convince Americans & Canadians that its new Via instant coffee is comparable to its brewed product. Instant coffee? Isn’t that Nescafe territory?

What do you think?

  • Kelvin Gan

    I think VIA is going to be an instant hit for all Starbucks loyal customers. I don't think it will affect Nescafe as VIA would most probably be priced rather premium. Hence creating their own new market segment – Premium Instant Coffee. If I were to choose, I would choose VIA over Nescafe for the simple reason of brand consciousness..

  • Vernon

    Personally I think it's diluting the brand. Also, who says Starbucks is about coffee?

    Starbucks is an experience. A culture. When you walk into a Starbucks outlet (whilst enjoying the aroma of course), it's the reassuring greeting from the barista, it's the friendly, warm ambience, it's the free WIFI, it's the abundant power outlets for your laptop. Believe me, I know. :)

    Perhaps VIA will reach a different target market, and perhaps it will appeal to existing Starbucks fans. Whether it will be an instant hit with customers loyal or otherwise remains to be seen.

    Having said that, Starbucks can depend on the strength of its brand to drive this.

    I do wonder how their bottled lattes do on supermarket shelves. Do you know?

  • jennesis

    i agree with Vernon. Starbucks have been about the '3rd-place' experience as far as we know. Not so much about the coffee.

    I think more ladies patron Starbucks than men because the place is more 'lady-friendly' as opposed to dodgy and hot coffee shops – It's a such a hassle to be wiping sweat off our made-up faces, u know.

    I don't drink coffee so it's not appropriate for me to say whether this instant Starbucks coffee thingy can work or not, but I feel that that market belongs to other mainstream coffee brands, yes, like Nescafe – which is a whole lot cheaper and has a broad loyal customer base.

    By the way, can instant coffee in a Santa mug at home, be the same with brewed coffee in a posh Starbucks mug al-fresco style?

  • Jason I WeeMin

    i agree with Vernon. Starbucks have been about the '3rd-place' experience as far as we know. Not so much about the coffee.

    I think more ladies patron Starbucks than men because the place is more 'lady-friendly' as opposed to dodgy and hot coffee shops – It's a such a hassle to be wiping sweat off our made-up faces, u know.

    I don't drink coffee so it's not appropriate for me to say whether this instant Starbucks coffee thingy can work or not, but I feel that that market belongs to other mainstream coffee brands, yes, like Nescafe – which is a whole lot cheaper and has a broad loyal customer base.

    By the way, can instant coffee in a Santa mug at home, be the same with brewed coffee in a posh Starbucks mug al-fresco style?

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