December 23: Your Customers Don't Understand Your Identity Crisis

I was sitting in Barnes and Noble and heard a customer ask the girl at the coffee counter if they took Starbucks gift cards. The girl said no so the lady turned to her friend and said let's go to another store.

I overheard a lady sitting at a nearby table remark that Barnes and Noble was a licensed distributor of Starbucks, not a Starbucks store. She had a condescending tone as though the customer was stupid for asking.

The cafe at B and N proudly displays the Starbucks logo all over the place. Why wouldn't a customer think they could buy Starbucks coffee from a counter selling Starbucks Coffee with their Starbucks gift card?

Your customers don't understand your licensing schemes and corporate boundaries. Your lucky if they even recognize your brand in the first place. If they are trying to buy your product with a gift card with your name on it make it easy for them. If you have fancy licensing deals, then you are also smart enough to figure out a way not to confuse customers (like licensing the gift cards too).

And watch what you say, because you never know when some guy with big ears and a computer is writing about you.

Do you present a singular identity to your customers?