I’m quoted in a Reuters article that has run in the Washington Post, Globe and Mail, and the Sydney MX among a few, that comments on the recent woes of Starbuck’s.
Titled “Not everyone’s crying in their lattes for Starbucks; There’s a schadenfreude among some coffee drinkers who think the java giant got too big too fast,” the article looks at how some people seem to be enjoying Starbucks in its Icarus moment.
The schadenfreude of coffee drinkers drawing satisfaction from another’s misfortune is part of the popular culture that enjoys the downfall of companies or celebrities, said Jim Carroll, a Mississauga-based trends and innovation expert.
“There are a lot of people out there who take delight in seeing an icon torn down by the masses,” he said.
Starbucks fell victim to a rapid change in attitude, fuelled by Internet bloggers complaining endlessly about everything from layoffs to its breakfast sandwiches, he said.
“Starbucks was a cool brand, and then all of a sudden it’s not a cool brand,” he said. “There’s this new global consciousness that is out there that can suddenly shift.”
This is exactly what I write about in my book Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast. Indeed, one chapter talks about how in this era of very fast change, a brand can go from “hero to zero” in a matter of months, or even less. That’s partially what we are witnessing here.
The key thing today is velocity: business is impacted by rapid consumer change, product change, business model change, cost challenges, market change. The phrase I’ve been using for years is “volatility is the new normal.” Realize that, and build your innovation strategy around that, and you’ll be set for the types of challenges that will come your way.
This is particularly true with issues of branding : brand perceptions can change very quickly today, and I don’t think many organizations are prepared for that. Just look at how quickly any brand equity left attached to the US auto industry has evaporated!