My Aunt Cora called me about a month ago from Hawaii. She said, “I’ve been looking all over for this Starbucks cup. You guys are up in Seattle—can you see if they have any at the main shop and pick up a few of them for me?”
Image source: eBay listing
We went to the shop #1 over at the Pike Place Market, a 15 minute drive from the house that also requires a 30 minute parking quest depending on the day. When we got there, we were told that the Venti plastic cups had been sold out for a while. We then drove down to a mall about 25 miles south and again found nothing. After returning home, my mother called around to several Starbucks locations to no avail. The total time invested by this time in this hunt on this side of the Pacific Ocean for a branded plastic cup, was over 3 hours. Who knows how much additional time my Aunt had spent before that trying to find the cup in Hawaii…
My mom, being the resourceful, tech-savvy woman she is, turned to the internet to see if she could find the cup. She found several in fact, all on eBay for over $40 a piece.
Let’s break this down:
- My Aunt is willing to pay for a branded cup from Starbucks
- Unable to find it at her local store, she invests time in looking for it in Hawaii
- When none is available in Hawaii, she asks us to locate a “Starbucks cup” in Seattle
- We invest several hours in going to and phoning up various stores
- When that isn’t successful, my Mom looks on the internet and finds that other people want this branded cup so badly, they’re willing to pay almost 4 times the amount of the original cup
At this juncture, I’d like to add that I just looked up the cup on eBay yet again to find that there are several available at the Buy-It-Now price of $70! That’s about 4 times the original price for, let me repeat again, a branded Starbucks cup. This is a cup that once purchased, will be used or cherished by someone who will continue to market the Starbucks brand of coffee. Amazing!
You simply can’t buy this kind of dedication to your brand. I’ve spoken before about how important to the longevity of your business to allow your customers to have a meaningful relationship with you and your brands. If this isn’t a great example about how strong relationships can result in free marketing for your business, I don’t know what is. In fact, this is better than free marketing; people are paying in both time and money to market Starbucks for them. Admit it, that’s pretty cool.
Next month: D23, where me and my family get our multi-generational branded entertainment geek on… and it’s only the beginning.