Tag Archives: Howard Schultz

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Leadership Forum: ‘Eyes of the world will be on Arizona’

The partnership between Starbucks and Arizona State University stirs up the way people can pay for college, have a family, and work at the same time.

Today, the 2014 Arizona Leadership Forum started off with the main message of, “We need you to lead us,” specifically speaking to attending business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. For quite some time, people have had the wrong impression of Arizona, but that’s about to change.

“Soon the eyes of the world will be on Arizona,” said Jathan Segur, executive vice president of National Bank of Arizona, referring to the 2015 Super Bowl, which will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium. “We will have the chance to talk about what’s right about Arizona.”

Segur’s speech set the tone of hope and optimism for the Leadership Forum.

Among those messages of hope, was one about the American dream to receive a high-quality college education. Unfortunately, it seems an unreachable dream for most. College tuition costs have risen 80 percent in the past 10 years. Therefore, only a select few can afford to go to college, and even fewer get to finish.

The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is the first of its kind, where a national company is taking the initiative to partner with an educational institution to give employees a second chance to live out their American dream. Due to the increasing college expenses, less than 50 percent of college students complete their degree.

“We employ a generation hit hard by our recession,” said Dervala Manley, vice president of global strategy at Starbucks Coffee Company.

Starbucks part-time and full-time employees from around the globe can now apply to receive funding towards their degree from Arizona State University. Freshman and sophomores attending ASU will be given a partial scholarship, accompanied with financial aid depending on their needs. Juniors and seniors will be given full tuition reimbursement with each year they continue to finish their studies. Students will have no obligation to stay at Starbucks after graduation.

Philip Regier, executive vice provost and dean of ASU online and extended campuses emphasized on how ASU wants to give everyone, no mater what their background, an equal chance to get a high-quality education. ASU has all 40 majors online as well as in person, making it more convenient for the working class.

“We did it [partnership] because we had a set of shared values,” Regier said.

This partnership between ASU and Starbucks is a leading example for an innovative state of mind in Arizona. Through the voices of the people, partnerships can form to benefit this generation. This partnership has created a way for aspiring college students to reach their highest potential in life.
“The face of Starbucks is not Howard Schultz, it’s the barista,” Hanley said.

consumer behavior

Consumer Behavior Sparks Ideas For New Products, Expanding Markets

Marketing turns something old into something new: Consumer behavior sparks ideas for new products, expanding markets.


Introducing a new product to market can take years of research and expense. Or it can be as simple as taking something already in existence and marketing it for a different purpose. Creating or discovering a whole new use or new market for a product can be all you need to generate increased sales and growth. Observing consumer behavior is often the catalyst for new ideas.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal outlines Hidden Valley Foods’ plan to expand its market penetration for its premier product, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. By repositioning the ever-popular salad dressing as the “new ketchup,” the company believes it can expand its market share and increase revenue. Updating the recipe to make the dressing thicker and creamier in order to stay atop a burger and creating new packaging and labeling, the new version will be called Hidden Valley for Everything. The company will introduce the product to the restaurant industry and grocery sales as soon as they finalize the recipe, so it can safely remain on the table as a nonperishable item, like ketchup and mustard.

The idea for repositioning the top selling salad dressing came about when a company executive observed his daughter pouring it over her salmon dinner. While ranch dressing is said to be “the most often used salad dressing in the U.S.,” the executive saw his daughter’s behavior as an opportunity to expand to a new area. Research shows that 15 percent of ranch dressing consumers use it on something other than salad, which supports the company’s move to make a play for market share in the condiment category.

Similarly, when Google learned that its customers were enjoying Google Translate more for its musical attributes than to translate words and phrases, the company saw a demand for this service with a new purpose. Customers type in a string of consonants as English for the system to translate into German, and then the computer “speaks” the phrase in rhythmic beat. The result is music to the user’s ears.

Then there is Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, who was recently credited with reviving the business by introducing a variety of new products and services. One of those ideas is a light roast coffee — a first for the coffeehouse chain that built its business on rich, dark roast flavors. When the company’s market research uncovered that “40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers prefer a lighter, milder roast,” the product development team went to work creating their new Blonde roast.

Business owners and managers at small companies can learn from these industry leaders. Watching and listening to your consumers can often uncover the potential for new sources of revenue. Conduct a review of current products and services and think about how you might promote them to a different target market or how they may be utilized differently. By repositioning or refocusing your marketing, the potential for growth can be accomplished by just looking at the situation from a new perspective.

For more information on observing consumer behavior, or marketingworx and its services, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.