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Tribal Knowledge

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Tribal Knowledge

Lessons Learned from Working Inside Starbucks

Kaplan Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Lessons in Latte: Starbucks brews up 47 hot marketing lessons.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


John Moore compiles the lessons he learned in his marketing career, including eight years with Starbucks, into this little book. Each of its 47 very brief, breezy chapters provides a single, useful concept. Maybe all that caffeine triggered Moore's laser-like focus and brevity. The central idea is that your marketing works best when it is people-based and authentic. Your employees will pitch in with promotional efforts, too, if they see you and the company as genuine. If you show them that the company meets its commitments in everything it does, that will give them confidence that the company will fulfill its promises to them. Your customers will absorb that assurance and solidity from your employees, and everyone will benefit. This isn’t rocket science; some of the points seem a bit puffed up to make a book of more than 200 small pages. However, getAbstract finds the book’s core lessons worthwhile – like a latte, this small cupful is short and light, with a shot of energy.


What Do Your Company’s Tribes Know?

Your business knows a lot more than is written in its policy manuals, product guides or marketing plans. This “tribal knowledge” resides in the advice and know-how that employees communicate to each other about your company and brand. Much of it is never codified, yet it lingers in your corporate culture. The story that lingers at Starbucks is how Howard Schultz developed a dream that has changed the way people gather and the way they drink coffee.

Get Everyone to Tell Your Story

Schultz founded Starbucks with six stores and a passionate vision of changing the world by “improving people’s lives in small but meaningful ways” and creating “appreciation for a better-tasting cup of coffee.” The company’s ideals built a solid basis for the brand, which then helped the company expand. The coffee house now opens about five new stores per day and provides full-force marketing efforts for every opening. Like Starbucks, don’t leave your marketing solely to the marketing team. Make sure all your employees know they are a vital part of your promotional efforts. The reputation, public image and brand names of successful companies outweigh...

About the Author

John Moore operates a marketing firm and speaks frequently at companies, conferences and colleges. He was actively involved in marketing at Starbucks and at a major natural foods grocery chain.

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