I can go on an adventure like a trip to China, but all roads lead back to advertising I'm afraid. There's no way around it. So when you are in the airport in Hangzhou and you stop at a Starbucks you hear the distant echo of Howard Schultz and his goal of world wide consistency of experience. Let me explain...
I went first to a local coffee place at the airport and tried to order a coffee, a gaggle of servers gathered around me to figure out what I wanted. Black coffee. I walked away with a coffee with sugar and milk. They opened my sugar and milk and stirred for me. They even opened my cup flap so I could drink it. One server said, "you leave?" I said yes thank you. They shook their heads in sync as I left the restaurant.
Then an hour later, past security we went to Starbucks. "Americano." "Do you want room?" I said no thank you. I was presented my receipt with two hands and my coffee with a smile, a "have a nice day" and a classic Starbucks green coffee plug. Nailed it. Just like it is being nailed in thousands of Starbucks around the world, even here in China.
When I read Howard's book Onward I came to realize what he wrote was a bible for retailers. If you are running a coffee shop or a shoe store, there are a few gems in this book that help you figure out how to do things the right way. You don't need to like Starbucks coffee. You just have to admire a job well done.
Said an old friend of mine who is a copywriter, "tell one story well." And tell that story over and over again so everyone knows how the story goes. Now do it everywhere.
Have you ever had a bad experience in service at a Starbucks? I rest my case!
Ok, well...enough about that!
We flew from Hangzhou to Xian today and immediately went to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Grand Mosque. The Grand Mosque was interesting because you first had to walk through absolute chaos of the market where, I swear, everything in China is serviced on a stick. Meat in a stick. Pineapple on a stick. Squid on a stick. Really smelly hammered flat mystery meat on a stick. There will be some photos to show you what I'm on about.
We have at least a dozen kinds of dumplings for dinner and watched what was kind of like a dinner theatre show about the Tang Dynasty. I'm not sure I learned anything about the Tang dynasty to be honest.
I did learn today however that the Ching Dynasty created the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Great Wall. Not bad for one dynasty. And the Song Dynasty created the movement to limit a woman's feet size by binding their feet in fabric because the Emperor had a bit of a foot fetish. I'm hopeful the Song Dynasty did other great things too?
It's late so I'll stop here. Have to get ready for the Terra Cotta Warriors tomorrow, a visit to an art, ceramic and lacquer factory and then jump on a plane to Beijing.