Coffee is a commodity. You can get a cup at any café, sandwich bar or restaurant anywhere. So how did Starbucks manage to reinvent coffee as a whole new experience, and create a hugely successful brand in the process?
Just like the character in Moby Dick who gives the company its name, Starbucks has spread to every part of the world, making it one of todays most recognizable brands. In this thoughtful and elegantly written book, John Simmons explores the Starbucks story, providing fascinating insight into the factors that have made Starbucks a world-class brand.
Like McDonalds and Coca-Cola, Starbucks has recently suffered at the hands of anti-globalization protesters. That alone is an indication of the reach and size of Starbucks today. Go to Beijing or Moscow, and you will find Starbucks, just like you would find McDonalds. What people there are buying is not just a latte or a Big Mac, but a brief excursion into America and the luxury and home comfort that is seen to be American. But with the Starbucks story, there is also a deeper level that links with the sense that this brand through its shops creates gathering places for local communities.
My Sister's a Barista tells the Starbucks story from its origins in a Seattle fish market to its growing global presence today. This is a story that has unfolded quickly - at least in terms of conventional business development. Starbucks is a phenomenon. Unknown 15 years ago, it now ranks among the 100 most valuable brands in the world. It has become the quintessential brand of the modern age, built around the creation of an experience that can be consistently reproduced across the world.
In exploring the secrets behind its success, this book also tackles the wider question of what makes a successful brand. But ultimately it is a fascinating human story to inspire all of us.
Originally published in May 2004, this updated edition contains fresh material, including an extra Afterword and a new and original interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.