Enlightened Holidays at Peet’s – by Jeff Hirsch

I’ve been rambling on for years now about how so many companies are still mired in the dark ages of formulaic, left-brain, don’t take any chances, play-it-by-the-numbers marketing.

One area I’ve been passionate about lately is cause-related marketing.  Zooming out for the moment to look at the big picture, the sharp lines between marketing mix elements must start blending together in a more seamless way. The cliché is “Integrated Marketing.” Everybody now talks the talk, but few truly walk the walk. How many companies really nail “The Big Idea” and then execute in the manner best fitting the idea? Doesn’t it usually break down to advertising (and a very self-serving agency) taking the lead with other elements playing supporting roles? Just like the 50’s and 60’s…

Specifically, there still exists a formidable barrier between a copmany’s “philanthropy” budget and its “marketing” budget.” After all, they are unrelated…right?

I am happy to report that Peet’s Coffee (I start nearly every day at Peet’s in Studio City) is truly an “Enlightened Organization” – one of the few who intuitively grasp the seismic shift in how organizations must relate to their consumers to be successful.

They know that a great product, a “Unique Selling Proposition,” a comfortable, appealing retail environment and clever signage are not enough. That’s just the ante to get into the game these days.

I hang at Peet’s for a variety of reasons, including the wonderfully powerful, flavorful coffee, but it’s more than that. It’s the Brand Myth of Alfred Peet – a true original. It’s the people who hang there – to me, an artsy, intellectual, friendly, down-to-earth crowd. It’s the people who work there who seem to have great back stories themselves. (No way they just work in a coffee shop – they’re artists, or something.) And it’s also a feeling – and I don’t really know how to articulate it in a rational way – that Peet’s is a company that shares my values.

That feeling was powerfully reinforced when I visited Christmas Eve morning for my caffeine infusion. “No charge for coffee today. And we’re donating all our tips to the local animal shelter.”

Wow – talk about a company and it’s employees putting their money where there mouth is.

As a marketer, I’m truly impressed. These guys really know how to connect to the heart and souls of their customers. As a consumer, Peet’s has my undying loyalty.

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