Anil Thakraney: Starbucks: Power of a brand

22 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


The night before Starbucks opened its gates to India, I was dining with some friends at Trishna (Kala Ghoda). After we finished with our prawns and fish, we decided to drive by Horniman Circle to check if Starbucks was already in operation, and whether it looked as fancy as some media reports had suggested. The outlet was still to be born, but I was stunned to see all the crowds that had collected there, the heavy action that was underway to give the coffee shop the finishing touches. With major light and sound rehearsals, stuff that even Shah Jahan would not have conceived of when the Taj was first thrown open to the public.


And of course, the social media has been going crazy over the event. A number of people have been proudly putting out ‘I am at Starbucks!’ tweets. The maha excited reviews in the media have only just begun. And to think Starbucks is just a bloody coffee joint! Although I am not a coffee drinker, I did try out their stuff once on a visit to New York City. And must say I found the potion to be utterly expensive and totally distasteful. Though the loo was quite clean, so I didn’t really leave the place in a huff.


This tells me two things about us desis: One, that we are still a wannabe nation, nothing much has changed in the last two decades. Then, I spotted a long queue at Linking Road in Bandra, when McDonald’s opened shop in India. And it’s ditto at Horniman Circle today. Two, that we are a brand-starved nation. Clearly, India’s teeming masses want the best of the world, there is heavy demand but poor supply. This is great news for all those multi-brand retail outlets who want to come here. I can already see huge crowds inside and outside Wal-Mart and Tesco. Not to speak of IKEA. Now if only our short-sighted, small-minded politicians would let it all happen.




PS: Very interesting article on whether media companies must list down social media usage guidelines for journalists, even if they happen to be freelancers. My belief is that they should. Because whether we like it or not, tweets and Facebook updates posted by journalists do get associated with their employers by most readers. Even if the journos choose to be in denial of it.





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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Starbucks: Power of a brand”

  1. Gaurav Laghate says:

    Generally I like your views on the topics you right on Anil, but on this one, I differ. First, as you clearly said, you are not a coffee drinker, and which I am… Let me tell you that this “bloody coffee joint” is much better than all the CCDs and Baristas and Costa in town.

    I was their on the launch, and I was there yesterday too… there was a queue, but people were waiting. And I will tell you why, not because the loo was clean (which, incidentally was) but because it was totally value for money. The whole experience of Starbucks in India is to sum it up, better than any other coffee shop.

    I have never seen so many “happy faces” ever talking over a cup of coffee (or Latte or Mocha Frapeccunios). And let me tell you, I am yet another journalist, who doesn’t even write on this beat.