This latte tastes like cough syrup

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Last week I was standing in line at my local Starbucks with my eight-year-old son. As he oohed and aahed over all the delicious baked goods on display, I overheard the woman in front of me order a Cascara Latte. Having never heard of this – I asked her what was in it.

“Well, I’m not sure – it’s new and I like to try new things,” she admitted, so I Googled it on my phone.

Then the barista piped in. “We’ve got samples of it here. You know that coffee is actually a fruit? This latte is made with the fruit of the coffee….the coffee cherry…”

And on she went…

Surf over to the Starbucks website and here’s the official description: “Inside each coffee cherry are the seeds we’ve all come to know as coffee beans. Cascara is the dried fruit of the cherry itself. It lends delicious, subtle notes of dark brown sugar and luscious maple.”

She was doing pretty good. Then after pointing out the samples to us again, she said, without batting an eye:

“I’ve had it once and if you ask me, it tastes like cough syrup.”

And then she sauntered off to make the woman’s cascara latte.

Cough syrup.

Dead silence ensued.

The woman in front of me winked and sighed, “Not exactly a ringing endorsement.”

My son piped up, “Mom, why would you get a coffee that tastes like cough syrup? Cough syrup tastes awful.”

Exactly my boy.

Even my eight-year-old son has a grasp of the concept that your people are your brand.

When you send uniformed people out into your retail locations or to someone’s door, they are walking, talking extensions of your brand. Anything they do to shape your customers’ experience – answering the phone, replying to an email, driving around town, or dealing with people face to face – will be perceived as a reflection of your brand.

In short: hire the people you want out in the world as the face of your brand. For you never know what may get seared into the minds of your customers as a result of their actions.

Latte anyone?