More Holiday Enlightenment From Peet’s

My first blog entry ever, posted in December, 2005, was titled “Enlightened Holidays At Peet’s.”  Having written about 100 essays or blog since that, I hadn’t really thought about it until today, but it’s worth a second look.

Still a loyal Peet’s customer, I’m on their mailing list.  It’s Christmas Eve day, and I was a put off a bit by an email this morning informing me that today was my “last chance to buy Peet’s Holiday Blend.”  Can’t we give it a rest already?

The line was nearly out the door when I got here this morning. Did everyone else get that email too? Guess the allure of Peet’s Holiday Blend is stronger than I thought.

Actually, the crowd had gathered for “Free Coffee and Tea Day.”  You could make a donation in lieu of payment if you like, and Peet’s would match it. The beneficiary is a local charity dedicated to feeding the hungry and providing school supplies for children in need. The founder of the charity was here chatting with people in line.

My 2005 piece concluded, “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.”

Let me reaffirm that thought these seven years later. What’s more impressive is that in an age of “high tech,” aggressive digital marketing – something Peet’s has clearly embraced – that Peet’s hasn’t lost sight of the “high touch” component in marketing.

Giving up an entire day’s revenues is significant financial commitment and a remarkable gesture. But how they did it demonstrates that it’s not just a self-serving gesture.  Peet’s allowed this individual unit, our friendly, neighborhood Studio City coffee house, to choose a cause of their own. Then, they personally engaged the people who work here as well with their guests. It’s easy to tell that they are sincere, not cynical.

It is clear from the people Peet’s hires – warm, outgoing, smart, fun, creative interesting, all unique in their own way – to the way they must treat those people to get them to hang around so long (employee turnover here has got to be way, way lower than comparable companies), to the way they embrace the local community, that Peet’s is a company that really “gets it.”

It might be a chain, but it doesn’t feel like a chain. That’s why I like it. Peet’s is still authentic. It might be a big corporation compared with mom & pop coffee houses, but despite its size, I feel recognized, respected and understood whenever I visit what feels like my very own Studio City location. Guess that’s why I’ve dropped by nearly everyday for the past seven plus years.

Isn’t “win-win” a great approach?

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