What happens when your competitor is a whole country?

…and is also better than you?

 

When you enter a bar (that?s the Italian word for coffee-shop) in Italy you just order un caff?, a coffee. And in a minute the barista prepares a small sip of espresso for you, merely covering the bottom of a tiny coffee cup.

 

It takes you seconds to swallow it, seconds to pay and the whole process lasts less than 5 minutes before you?re back in the street at your business. But those 5 minutes are enough to understand what coffee means. The essence of the taste of coffee.

 

Why is the dose so small? It is like you ask Gordon Ramsay why his risotto looks so tiny in a huge white plate. You would never think ?oh, so much wasted space?. You have already sold yourself to that image, symbolizing the quality of your food.

 

Why don?t they stay longer? Because the coffee is at the core of what they want to experience. It is about culture. And culture is the hardest to change.

 

If Starbucks go to Milan and sell their artificial coffee cocktails and technics of what coffee means, they will blatantly fail. But if they sell their new way of working, then there is potential there.

 

Howard Schultz has studied the culture of coffee in Italian bars. It would be almost impossible for Starbucks to present themselves as tutors to them.

 

The truth is that Starbucks was named ?the third place? by Scott Bedbury who was also behind the “Just Do It? for Nike and the “Belong anywhere” for AirBnB campaigns.

 

The first place being your home and the second your business, your job.

 

A third place comes to cover what?s in between. The place where you can work with strong wifi, plenty of plugs for power supply and background music that inspires you or provides you the pace to do your job. And at the same time you feel like you are at home, with dining tables and armchairs to relax and small coffee tables near windows that overlook the busy street.

 

This is what Starbucks offers and it?s one of the best offers of its kind. It is what the new business lifestyle demands and we love it.

 

Coffee on the other hand is not their strong feature to sell in the Mecca of coffee, Italy.

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