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The buzz today among marketers, brand developers and those who love coffee circles around the announcement that Starbucks raised its drink prices by a nickel, its first price increase in two years....


So what's the big deal?
Starbucks built its reputation on brand image, the Third Place Experience. An intangible. And intangibles are easy to attack because experiences are in the minds of those touched by them. And even happy and loyal customers can be fickle.
Any time Starbucks finds itself in the news, an excuse to mumble about the brand and a declining experience rises like foam on a latte. Service is inconsistent, the coffee is inconsistent, the experience is inconsistent, I'm looking for another cafe.
Yet Starbucks continues to grow both stores and customers within existing stores, as measured by comparative sales. I ask myself, and you, is the complaining just us being human or is their something changing at Starbucks? Is the brand showing its first cracks?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, (http://www.l-gsolutions.com) brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.