It’s all Just one Big “Misperception”

Its official: Starbucks’ earnings are down 69% for the quarter and immediate plans are to close 300 additional stores (eliminating up to 6,000 jobs). Sure the economy sucks and (just about) everyone is paring down . . . but according to Starbucks, there’s another problem: Consumers’ “misperceptions” of the brand, specifically, that Starbucks is a “premium” brand. Is it me or did Starbucks do everything in its power to create that perception in the first place?

Back in November, Target began grousing that it too needed to overcome “misperceptions” that its products are more expensive than Walmart’s. Now if there’s any retailer who masterfully manipulates perception, it’s Target! Groovy marketing, designer exclusives, upscale private labels . . . All of that to make shoppers perceive Target as the low cost leader? I think not.

Soon you’ll see “value pairings” at Starbucks (want a scone with that latte?) and perhaps you’ve noticed that Target has begun sharing prices in its commercials for the first time (something that before was considered to be beside the point). There’s nothing wrong with tweaking your POV during difficult times . . . but blaming the consumer for buying in during the good ol’ days seems not-so-smart. Instead of saying that the consumer got it all wrong to begin with, why not just say “My bad”?

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