BRANDING….and Coffee!

Whassup peoples?  Let’s get into it, shall we?

Since moving to Southern California, I’ve acquired a couple of habits of varyinng levels of surprise. For example the word “dude” has creeped into my vocabulary, I get annoyed when the temperature drops below 50 degrees (because I have to look for sweaters), and I’ve developed a taste for coffee.

Whoa, I didn't say coffee SNOB.
Whoa, I didn’t say coffee SNOB.

Actually, I want to talk about the big green coffee machine. I am not a hater of Starbucks by any means, but personally I don’t really get “excited” when I see one like most people my age do. Like the fast food shack Chipotle, it’s good but not rave-worthy good.

Anyway, this past Saturday I walked  into a Burger King (after about 18 months) and ordered a Turkey Burger and their house coffee. Seattle’s Best brews their joe, and while I know they are owned by Starbucks, I was pleasantly surprised enough to tweet about it.

You've piqued my interest...
You’ve piqued my interest…

After a couple of years of not knowing what to do with the brand, Starbucks has positioned Seattle’s Best coffee to be more of the “working man’s brew.” People (like this writer) who may or may not appreciate the complexities of the products Starbucks offers, but when it comes down to it, is pretty okay with drinking a basic cup of coffee. You know, only a select few  actually go into a diner and ask the waitress what kind of black gold is on hand. But as a young adult living in the craft beer revolution, I realize that this its only a matter of time before that all changes.

I thought about that and how that applies to those “big name” authors who write multiple series that feature different characters or have different audiences in mind. When I was a kid, R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series were the cat’s pajamas with the grade school-Scholastic books set (a few years before the Harry Potter explosion). At the time, Stine has a smaller series called “Fear Street” that skewed a little older and were for more of a teenage audience. We’ve talked before about the relationship between art and commerce, and even back then I thought that this was a master stroke.

In theory the kids that loved “Goosebumps” would in fact would read “Fear Street.” Whether or not this actually worked, I’m not sure. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I think Mr. Stine is doing alright for himself.

It’s something to consider and it doesn’t just have to be writing. If you make cookies with certain ingredients for a bake sale, what’s not to say you can experiment with more exotic ingredients for a “premium” batch. Or maybe, in keeping with the baked good example, you make a smaller portion so you can offer the same product at two different price points.

As for my fast food cup of coffee, I may be a Seattle’s Best coffee customer for a while. This only proves no matter what you do, Starbucks wins.


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