Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
What's so distinctive about Starbucks?
The fact that the brand is everywhere makes little about it distinctive.
If you asked customers, you might hear that the slightly silly names for the different sizes of drinks are certainly distinctive. Tall when you mean small? Now that's distinctively ridiculous.
The coffee chain has, though, just released an ad that's so thougtfully put together and manages to turn one of the more dubiously distinctive aspects of its business into a positive.
Here we have the story of James. He's transgender. In the ad, we see his frustration at constantly being referred to by his original female name -- Jemma. Even his dad does it.
Yet, when he goes to Starbucks, he gives his name and, when his drink is ready, that name is called out correctly.
The ad, which is only running in the U.K., is beautifully constructed. It's part of a Starbucks partnership with the transgender organization Mermaids and the reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive.
I changed my name in 2018 and it's still nice to see it on my cup pic.twitter.com/Bhwhl74X68-- Josie Kendamu (@JosieKendamu) February 3, 2020
It might not have escaped everyone's notice that names being written on Starbucks cups hasn't been without rancor over the years.
Some complain their names are always spelled wrong. The mischievous have even suggested this is deliberate, as such things always get posted to Twitter and Instagram, which gives Starbucks more publicity.
Worse, there have been accusations that some Starbucks staff deliberately put offensive names on cups when they happen not to like a customer.
Here we are, then, with a brilliant reversal of such tales. As Starbucks itself put it:
At Starbucks, writing your name on a cup and calling it out is a symbol of our warm welcome. It's a small gesture, but it's symbolic of what we believe in: Recognition and acceptance, whoever you are, or want to be. We welcome everyone.
Yes, most other coffee shops now do it -- even McDonald's. Yet if your brand has something with which it's closely associated, it's always worth finding something that makes that distinction uplifting.
This is a wonderful example.