Create the Need

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Before Starbucks...did we drink coffee?

Nowadays at Starbucks, I'm almost embarrassed to request a mere venti regular coffee when the person ahead of me has just ordered a Marble Mocha Macchiato.

What Starbucks began in 1971 in Seattle now has become a national (and international) phenomenon. According to the company's historical timeline, Howard Schultz (with the help of local investors) acquired Starbucks in 1987 and the location count was 17. At press time, Starbucks operated 10,801 locations. Pretty impressive, huh?

What did Starbucks do (and continues to do), besides offer freshly brewed coffee in a multitude of varieties and sizes (tall, grande, venti—borrowed from the Italians) served in a paper cup with a holder and easy-to-sip top? Created a need, served a need, continues to create a need and continues to serve a need (thanks to the fancy schmancy stand aside and wait for your specialty coffee variety).

Why am I writing about a coffee house that, to my understanding, doesn't have a licensing program? Why should you care (you don't drink coffee, you think Starbucks' coffee is too strong, you refuse to pay Starbucks' prices)?

Today, your biggest competition is not the company exhibiting next to your booth, but some retailers. How will your company sustain business or grow business when your source of shelf space (and marketing) is designating shelf space to its own private-label brands? The answer is to create a need for your brand or product, and then serve the need. That's why, this month, we delved into a brand story with "how-to" in mind. We asked licensors, marketing gurus, branding experts, buyers, and merchandisers, among others to speak with LICENSE both on and off the record about brand strategy and execution for existing and new brands. The result is a comprehensive tips and advice story that will provide you with key brand takeaways.

As usual, I've been traveling: made my rounds at MAGIC; then to Houston, TX, to speak at the ICLA Winter Symposium; on to San Francisco and Los Angeles; and I'll head internationally at the end of this month to the Bologna Children's Book Fair and MIPTV. If you are attending Bologna Children's Book Fair, March 27 through 30, don't miss Licensing Days, organized by LICENSE and LIMA for the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

While Licensing International Show seems so far away, the editorial team at LICENSE is busy working on the May Show Preview. Licensing Show exhibitors soon will receive a letter via e-mail requesting online submissions for the May Show Preview. Don't miss your chance for this editorial opportunity. Any questions, e-mail Lorri Freifeld at lfreifeld@advanstar.com

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