Lunchtime Links: Why You Should Think Like Starbucks

How the coffee company introduced a new store feature based on consumer research. Also: How to think around an issue.

Say what you will about Starbucks, but it knows how to a) get consumers in the door and b) keep them coming back.

And as an association, shouldn’t you be thinking like that? You’re putting a lot of work into reacting to your members’ needs, so why not take some lessons from a company that’s doing it right? That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Keep members charged up: As Joshua Paul of Socious points out, Starbucks is trying something really cool in the Boston area. It’s installing Duracell Powermats, which allow consumers to charge phones without plugging in devices. Why did Starbucks do this? It noticed that people often left when their devices ran out of juice — and it saw how the offering could keep consumers there a little bit longer, able to continue working and to buy more coffee. How can you leverage practical opportunities in clever ways?

Hacking an issue from the inside: For decades, one of the software world’s most controversial – and unique — figures has been Richard Stallman, an open-source advocate who authored the widely used GNU General Public License. The issue he’s grappling with these days? Software patents. In an article for Wired, Stallman suggests a solution to reform software patents that works around the legal issues the industry has struggled with in recent years. “My suggestion is to change the effect of patents,” he writes. “We should legislate that developing, distributing, or running a program on generally used computing hardware does not constitute patent infringement.” Now, whether or not you agree with his point, Stallman’s way of thinking about an issue has its benefits. Have you ever tried that sort of workaround inventiveness when analyzing a business problem?

Engagement from a distance: It’s hard enough to engage people in a room — but what if you’re trying to do that through a computer? Donna Sanford of Engage365 has some ideas. “Perhaps nowhere is the topic of engagement more discussed, more critical – and, probably, harder to accomplish – than with virtual and hybrid events,” she explains. “That remote audience is so prone to distractions and multitasking.” She recommends keeping things digestible, technically ambitious, and emotionally gripping.

Have you ever led a virtual or hybrid event? If so, how did the engagement work out? Let us know in the comments.

(photo by Ralph and Jenny/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!