So the other day, I’m sitting in a downtown lobby with two of my favorite co-founders of a cool, new social community for creative professionals called Skillology. I’m not sure if you guys have ever heard of it? If not, definitely check it out!
But anyway, I’m perusing an online Entrepreneur Magazine article entitled “Secrets of the 10 Most Trusted Brands.” These are corporate companies that have gained trust amongst their consumers based on a consumer survey that explored the reasons some brands manage to stay on top, conducted by The Values Institute at DGWB, a Santa Ana, California-based think tank that focuses on brand relationships. The Institute’s research revealed companies’ success in areas like “Getting personal,” “Living up to their promise,” “Selling happiness,” “Keeping it cool,” etc.
So I asked my two fellow Skillology team members to humor me by guessing 3 out of the 10 companies listed in the article. After a brief stint of struggling and assistance, they were able to come up with named brands such as Ford, Target, Coca-Cola and Apple. However, what stood out to me most in this little game is that they failed to mention big-time coffee franchise - and one of my favorite places in the whole wide world - STARBUCKS.
Was I surprised because they don’t have the same automatic enthusiasm and admiration of the chain as I? Nope. It was the fact that as they were taking the quiz, they were both sipping on Starbucks drinks, one of which was a Venti (that’s a large size for you Starbucks-naysayers). So, I clearly pointed this out, only to get two of the most weakest responses--something along the lines of, I don’t really like Starbucks--I just got it because nothing else was around. Really, guys? Okay...
For me, this not only proves that the franchise is a trusted brand among its loyalists, but it transcends to reach those who claim to loathe it. In the article, the company gets accolades for its ability to house an establishment that “Forges Connections.”
“From the free Wi-Fi to the in-store music to the large tables with room for groups and meetings, the company's stores are designed to help customers interact. Go into any Starbucks, and business is happening and people are sharing, and the company understands that," says branding consultant Jim Stengel. "Everything in there is about connection, discovery, inspiration and creation."
Let’s face it. The guys can say that they don’t like Starbucks as much as they want, but if I suggest it as our next meeting spot, are they going to reject it? Probably not. And will they purchase a drink while we’re there? Probably so.
Why? Because Starbucks has found a way to continuously engage consumers - even if they can’t admit to willingly indulging. Now, that’s good business.
What brands do you trust and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!