How Starbucks Devalued Its Own Brand

Starbucks is struggling. It has strayed from its successful strategy of offering customers exceptional experiences and, in the process, has commoditized itself. This article analyzes where it went wrong and offers ideas for how the company can turn itself around. It holds lessons for other companies that compete by providing customers distinctive experiences.

Starbucks is in trouble again. In its last quarterly-earnings report, it announced disappointing results, including a 4% drop in same-store sales (11% in China, its second-biggest market). After that announcement, its stock plunged. (It is still well below its 12-month high.) And its founder and three-time CEO Howard Schultz once again fired off a missive on LinkedIn pleading with Starbucks’ current leaders to rediscover and embrace the company’s core purpose, its reason for existence.

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