Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Paper Cup Madness

Sixteen billion paper coffee cups are used in the US every year, adding up to more landfill garbage then is even imaginable. To stop the paper cup madness, Starbucks offers an incentive to customers who bring in their own reusable cups for their morning cup of joe. Good idea, right?

But recently I went to Starbucks (reusable mug in tow) for my usual tall caramel latte. The barista used a paper cup to make my drink, then poured the concoction into my mug and tossed out the paper cup. Hmmm.... The employee simply said he didn't know how else to measure it all right. Good point. But too bad.

Brands aren't just logos, messages and advertising. Brands are made by a consumer's experience with a company. And Starbucks knows that better than most. They don't sell coffee. They sell Starbucks.

The paper cup thing is a simple training fix. But it will go a long way. Because for those of us who choose to bring their reusable mugs around town, it's about our own personal brand: "I'm a caring, informed, intelligent, if not a bit annoyingly smug person."

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