Understand the Importance of Social Glue (2)
Starbucks analyzed the long tradition of coffee houses in the United States and Europe after they realized that for most people, the idea of coffee was more than a product to be consumed. Starbucks decided then to create a community that elevated the experience around drinking a cup of coffee.
Its social glue, then, was not the coffee itself, but the experience of drinking it. Bedbury describes Starbucks’ brand touchstone as “rewarding everyday moments.”6 This touchstone helps us understand what being part of the Starbucks community means: the coffee experience is a reward that happens as part of one’s daily life.
The Starbucks experience—the comfortable chairs, the good lighting, the music and the newspapers—all promote this positive experience. Starbucks welcomes groups who gather to discuss books and music; they also offer books and music for purchase in their stores. Online, you can join discussion groups at the Starbucks Web site.
This interesting idea of a third place has been used by a number of different types of retailers: bookstores and craft stores now provide food, beverages, and a place to sit and interact. Union National Bank took the Starbucks concept to heart and to the lobby of a new location in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.