What Authors Can Learn from Big Brands and How They Make Us Care

Roughly 60 million people visit Starbucks locations around the world each week, which adds up to more than 3 trillion visitors yearly. As a result, Starbucks is one of the top brands in the coffee industry.

My husband is a Dunkin’ Donuts guy and is always amazed that I am willing to pay so much for caffeine. Actually, I am, too. So how does Starbucks compel a budget-conscious gal like me to pay a premium? They make me care about their products. I’ll show you how.

The photo above was taken while I was waiting in a long line to get a venti Matcha Green Tea Latte with coconut milk. The three signs tell the story of the Coffea arabica plant, which is the most popular species of coffee, representing some 60 percent of global production. This is the bean used to brew your “average” cup of Joe.

In beautiful detail, the three signs described the unique qualities of this evergreen plant. The first sign described the beauty of its waxy, dark green leaves and how the plant grows in opposing pairs. The second sign spoke of the plant’s small, white, very fragrant flowers that are similar to jasmine and appear in clusters. The third sign described how, nine long months after flowering, the Coffea arabica plant’s cherries begin to ripen and are harvested “only when perfectly red and ripe, each holds two green coffee beans at it center, below five protective layers.”

After only a few minutes of reading, I felt like this special plant had given me its first-born twins. There was no way I could take my next cup of Joe for granted. It was no longer “average”—not if it came from the extraordinary Coffea arabica plant!

You see how this works? Starbucks made me care.

No matter what you think of Starbucks’ business practices or model, you have to respect the team that created this brilliant little “origin” story in only three signs and using simple, elegant language and illustrations. They are master brand builders who know their audience. And, by the way, a lot of great local coffee shops make me care, too. I frequent those establishments for caffeine as well.

So, what’s the point of my Starbucks story?

If you want people to buy your book(s) and pay a premium for the privilege, you need to make them care.

When you’re blogging, posting or writing a book bubble for Bublish’s Weekend Reader Marathon consider sharing your “origin” story and think about how you can encourage readers care about your work. What are the unique qualities of your stories? What’s the history behind the creation of your stories? What went into crafting your story’s characters, plot, scenes, setting, language, etc? What makes you unique as a writer? Make us care!

You guys are amazing! Now go forth and Bublish!  —Kathy Meis, founder and CEO


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