Saturday, February 6, 2010

Coffee, Confusion & Coherent Values

Well, we don't do it very often, but today's errands included a Starbucks stop. It's close to the house, it was only 1 block out of the way on our route...on and on.

And I noticed a funny thing about the cups the coffee came in . Both had printed on them stories about how buying Starbucks coffee was a way to support the Conservation International organization, with the 'Buck buying 66% of coffee beans from sustainably grown sources, specially selected farmers, etc.

I do believe that's a good thing. Unfortunately, Starbucks is still doing stuff that demonstrates responsibility is likely a marketing move--it's primarily a ploy to keep me spending money at their dwindling (yeah!!! ubiquity is NOT a recommendation for quality) outlets. I don't believe any market has actually needed the number of 'Bucks installed--and obviously so as many are now being closed.

Just below this moving story of how important it is that I spend my money on coffee out instead of making it at home (which we typically do at least 6 days a week), is the imprint about how the paper cup was made.

And that imprint is sad. Anyone wanting to be responsible with resources should be embarrassed by it: Made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.

What I found so odd is that 30% post-consumer fiber is such a normal, everyday occurance now. Then, add in that how the little insulator sleeve was labeled 60% post-consumer fiber, and it becomes even more confusing.

Here's my confusion: the mis-matched messages from a cup that isn't really helping to save the world, but coffee beans that supposedly are and a brown cardboard sleeve that is saving ghe planet...and my just up feeling it's all about marketing and whatever consciousness is involved focuses on separating me from my pennies and Washingtons.

If you're going to choose that a particular value be part of your business, be consistent. Make sure everything you communicate about that value is as coherent and consistent as you possibly can. Otherwise something as simple as a tall vanilla latte could end up strengthing someone's intention to drink more coffee at home.

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue Roth

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