Starbucks

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STARBUCKS: MAINTAINING A CLEAR POSITION
Bryan C. Seaford, TIAA-CREF Robert C. Culp, Tuscan Sun, Inc. Bradley W. Brooks, Queens University of Charlotte
CASE DESCRIPTION The primary subject matters of this case are Marketing and Branding. Secondary issues examined include brand equity and brand positioning. This case has a difficulty level of three (appropriate for junior level courses or higher). This case is designed to be taught in one and one half class hours and is expected to require four hours of outside preparation by students. CASE SYNOPSIS When Starbucks originated in Seattle, Washington in 1971 as a purveyor of dark roasted coffee beans and coffee merchandise, its founding owners didn’t anticipate the extraordinary
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They had become hooked on the dark-roasted coffee Alfred Peet advocated over the light-roasted coffee found in most large stores. Peet had encouraged their desires to bring dark-roasted coffee to the Seattle, Washington marketplace. He taught them that the fullest flavor is from a very dark roasting of the coffee beans (Schultz, 1997). The First Starbucks The three partners initially disagreed over naming their new coffee company. Gordon consulted with a creative business associate, artist Terry Heckler, about naming the store “Pequod” after the ship in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Terry told him, “You’re crazy! No one’s going to drink a cup of Pequod!” (Schultz, 1997). Eventually, the Starbucks name was chosen as a derivative of “Starbo,” the name of a Mt. Rainier mining camp in the 1930s (Skoog, 2002). Baldwin liked the additional connection to Starbuck, a character from Moby Dick.
Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 18, Number 3, 2012

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The first store opened in Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. Consistent with locating in such a key port city, the first Starbucks had nautical décor. The one employee, Siegel, wore a white apron. The store sold 30 varieties of coffee beans (direct from Peet’s) as well as other coffeerelated merchandise but no ready-to-drink beverages. The original Starbucks logo

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