Lure of the Siren
Lure of the Siren
They were opening a new store every 15 hours. Stores were turning a profit within the first year. The brand boasted the best loyalty program and personalized marketing I’d seen, either in China or the U.S. What an opportunity to join a phenomenal company!
To find that intersection between where I can continue to learn and also contribute. So I said a resounding yes, and signed on as the cmo for Starbucks, China.
As with my last few jobs, I started out working in the stores. There’s nothing more important than understanding the day-to-day rhythms of the job. And though I’d done a store immersion in China, I did another in the States, recognizing there would be material differences due to store format, culture, and just sheer number of customers.
I had some major epiphanies in the store. One in particular, really left an impression with me. I had somehow assumed that drive-through stores probably weren’t able to deliver the same level of customer connection as cafe stores. Purely my own ignorance! Because after working at a drive-through window, I realized that in fact, the window often provides the perfect opportunity to connect with a customer! It literally frames the store partner’s face. And the customer has no choice but to look up in order to pay and receive the order. An invaluable opportunity to smile, converse, and share a special moment of genuine connection.
Another hugely impactful experience came in the form of an overwhelming gift. I had the opportunity to attend one of our Origin trips, where Starbucks partners visit one of our coffee farms, and work alongside our farmers to understand the full bean-to-cup journey. Our trip to Sumatra gave me the insight into just how high our standards, and how good our quality control really are. The participants also bonded with one another, as we experienced deep moments of empathy… even failure. As we struggled to do the work these incredible partners take on, every single day. Each of us came back to our jobs, transformed, humbled, and inspired to do justice to every coffee bean and the hands that cared for those beans along the journey.
My week in Sumatra served an ancillary purpose – it inspired me to start thinking differently about purpose in the workplace. It made me wonder if CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) might be an outdated term. And whether we ought to scale up and think broader, about the social legacy that our business seeks to leave behind. Like my belief that each person was put here for a purpose… I’ve come to see the opportunity each business has, to leave a meaningful legacy in the communities where we do business, and with the customers we serve.
‘best of’ moments…
Starbucks Creative, Marketing, Insights, and Field collaborated on research to optimize the customer experience.
Starbucks Creative, Marketing, Insights, and Field collaborated
on research to optimize the customer experience.
unforgettable passion for coffee!
The team who designed our Chinese Starbucks Delivery customer offering celebrates after a full-day
Our category team defined and accelerated the Coffee Meets Ice Cream platform, which overdelivered target by 141%!
Celebrating Chinese New Year with our Central & West regional team.
Getting hands-on with our digital product team; we created some cool stuff!
Getting hands-on with our digital product team;
we created some cool stuff!
Experiences are best when shared.
Not everyone gets to visit Sumatra, so those of us who did came back to share all that we’d seen and learned.
Apron cards enable us to express gratitude to one another for meaningful, touching contributions.
Scooping beans in the 100+ degree weather, dust swirling, gave me a completely new appreciation for our farmers’ grueling lifestyle.
Laini loved visiting stores/hotels with me at all of my jobs, but Starbucks was her favorite. She learned to customize her Frappuccino for the perfect beverage (Matcha Vanilla Bean with ½ syrup no whip)