In every case, the creative ideas of innovative entrepreneurs produced powerful competitive advantages and tremendous wealth for the pioneering company. Schultz knew that if he waited until the company was out of the woods to invest in new products, communication channels, and ways of doing business it would be too late—Starbucks would no longer be relevant.
Schultz, no longer Starbucks' CEO but still its chairman, is worried the company is losing its ability to be true to its values while providing a store experience that conveys a sense of comfort, connection, and respect for its product and the communities Starbucks serves.
The scope and richness of Koehn's case gives it the feel of a page-turning novel; in that sense, Schultz's memo is the inciting action for all that follows.
The case provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the coffee company moved forward on these goals, including the introduction of the milder Pike Place Roast; the story of its VIA Ready Brew line; the launch of a loyalty program; investment in and engagement with social media; focus on a global expansion strategy; and the extension of social programs.
How did you study it in-depth? The notion of a "third place" between home and work to relax and enjoy the small, affordable luxury of a special coffee beverage seemed to resonate with the social and economic moment, she recalls.
Starbucks Sails Again The case chronicles the blizzard of decisions and initiatives that follow what could have been the company's death knell as the financial crisis hit home and consumers cinched their belts.
Companies like Apple, Starbucks and many others began dominating the market by understanding the consumer and what is called human experience psychology.
For her, the company represents much more than a phenomenal success story. CEO Howard Schultz has reignited Starbucks with innovative new offerings and by refocusing workers on the company's core values. In a recently published case, "Starbucks Coffee Company: Transformation and Renewal," available soon Koehn and coauthors Kelly McNamara, Nora Khan, and Elizabeth Legris trace the dramatic arc of the company's past seven-plus years—a period that saw Starbucks teeter on the brink of insolvency, dig deep to renew its sense of purpose and direction, and launch itself in new, untested arenas that define the company as it exists today.
International marketing strategy is an important part strategic planning and consequently should be an area of study according to The Journal of International Marketing.
HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Photo: iStockPhoto So Schultz composed a heartfelt, searching memo to senior leadership.