Starbucks, Changing its Image

Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed that there aren’t quite as many Starbucks around as there used to be. Hit by compound financial and identity crises, Starbucks closed some locations and is working to shed its image as a ubiquitous chain. In this ABC News Nightline segment, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz discusses how Starbucks weathered these crises and is now trying to reconnect with customers and reclaim authenticity as a friendly neighborhood coffee shop. Among its efforts is the advent of “stealth” stores; Starbucks-owned cafes that don’t look like Starbucks and have a more local feel.

Will it work? Starbucks reported record quarterly earnings in January, but Bryant Simon, author of Everything but the Coffee, finds that cultural cachet may not be so easily resurrected. Interviewed in the Nightline segment, he says: “When you sell culture, when you sell values, it’s by nature kind of ephemeral. It has a shelf life.”

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