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Management Research Proposal  Starbucks Brand Avoidance 


Talisa-Louise Maulgue University of Auckland 5/21/2009

MKTG 717 Brand Research Proposal

MAULGUE, Talisa-Louise

Word Count: 1,492

Starbucks is a multinational company who purchase and roast whole coffee beans. They sell these along with a variety of hot and cold beverages, food, teas and coffee accessories. The head office is in Seattle, USA, which is also the location of the first store. The company’s net profit for 2008 is $316.8 million; however profits have decreased by 77% in the first 2009 quarter (New York Times, 2009). Starbucks was voted one of the best retail environments by Brand Channel in 2009, with comments like “The right blend of flavors in the decor, service, product, sensory experience with a shot of neighborhood authenticity”. MANAGEMENT PROBLEM

Starbucks’ stores are closing and quarterly profits have fallen by 77% (Jargon, 2009). Howard Stultz, Starbuck CEO says “We know customers are looking for meaningful value...” (Jargon, 2009), however it appears that many people do not value the Starbucks brand. In fact they go out of their way to avoid drinking a “Frappacino” or “Cinnamon Dolche Latte” or basic cup of coffee. To these people, Starbucks offers no value; in fact they devalue the brand and the product. But the question is why? "Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store" (Shultz, 2008 cited in Quelch, 2008). Shultz may be right. Many people are beginning to feel that Starbucks has become a representation of the homogeneity of American culture (Wardle, 2005). Wardle (2005) feels that Starbucks are only interested in efficiney and profits, not about culture and the uniqueness of a local coffee shop. This view seems to be express by many people, with over 400 Facebook groups dedicated to hating Starbucks and many websites blogs and forums stating just this. This...
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