A great example of a company run to maximize stakeholder value is Starbucks. Their entire mission is centered around the experience of the customer. Everything from the friendliness of the barista to the comfy feeling of their stores is tailored around the customer experience. In their eyes, distributing coffee – and their other delicious items – is not what drives their sales. Though it may be the excuse used to enter their cafes, the Starbucks customer returns for more than the coffee or tea. They return for the experience of sipping a freshly brewed and custom created coffee in the comfort of the Starbucks cafe. The Starbucks experience is, however, just one example of Starbucks’ commitment to their stakeholder-oriented management. From their partnerships with other institutions (like Barnes and Noble or Bucknell) to their detailed work with suppliers, Starbucks exemplifies what it means to care about its product and its stakeholders. They apply their unique vision of what being a premium cafe should be like, in part, by incorporating new technologies that apply to their premium customer base while making the experience friendly and homey. This can be seen in their partnership with Apple – often giving out free music – or their integration of mobile payments (where you can simply scan a barcode on your iPhone to pay for their products). – I’ve done it, it’s great. I highly, highly recommend doing this at every opportunity you get. (doesn’t work at non-Starbucks Starbucks (like Barnes and Noble and the Library…, i’ve tried. Doesn’t work.)
In his book, Dr. Michelli examines the Starbucks experience and what he claims are Starbucks’ 5 principles for turning ordinary into extraordinary. They are:
1. Make it your own
2. Everything matters
3. Surprise and delight
4. Embrace resistance
5. Leave your mark
In my extensive experience buying and drinking Starbucks coffee, I’ve found this to be true. From writing in their comfy cafe’s seats to grabbing a quick cup to go, Starbucks has proven to lead the coffee industry in more ways than just the quality of their coffee.
In fact, if it were not for Starbucks, I’d have just slightly over zero chance of finishing my important 10 page paper throughout the course of tonight! Thank god for Starbucks.