I've read more than a few articles regarding the troubles Starbucks is having these days. Some of those come from the radio bloggers who note similarities to whats happening in the radio business these days.
For example - consultant Harve Alan asks: "How could this be happening to Starbucks--arguably one of the hippest, coolest, well respected brands ever?" Harve then points to a Reuters article that features some choice consumer quotes:
"Starbucks was a cool brand, and then all of a sudden it's not a cool brand," he said. "There's this new global consciousness that is out there that can suddenly shift." "The people that work there are very pleasant, but the stores are devoid of any kind of real charm or personality," he said. "They push a button, and a machine does everything from grinding the beans to brewing the drink."
As Harve comments on his post, that last line hits home. A DJ just pushes a button and a machine does everything. Ouch.
Its my take that Starbucks simply lost its charm. It simply became too big. Uhhh...way too big when you can drive down a street and see location after location within blocks of each other. Instead of being the neighborhood coffee shop, they became McDonald's. And I haven't thought McDonald's was "cool" since I was six years old.
Digressing just a bit - but I think there's a real need for radio to act small in the eyes and ears of its listeners. Being the hometown station. The neighborhood station. Not the corporate franchise.
Think everything from air talent and content down to listener marketing. Low-key or eliminate the corporate identification on the air (what brand truly matters?) Small. Community. Act like a mom and pop with great resources.
No matter how big you might really be.