Global Business on Stage with Fortune Global Forum
- November 29, 2018
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In October I attended the Fortune Global Forum, held this year in Toronto, Canada. It’s an invitation event for, primarily, the CEOs of businesses all over the world. The makeup of the event evolves as it moves from country to country – and in Toronto, Canada and the USA were well-represented.
BP3 is one of the smallest “global” companies around – we operate in 4 continents, with most of our revenue coming from North America and Europe. Usually when you say global, you’re thinking massive companies like Starbucks – and the Fortune Global Forum didn’t disappoint- they put Starbucks’ CEO on stage.
Kevin Johnson relayed that 40% of payments at Starbucks in the US are mobile – which makes Starbucks the largest mobile payment platform in the US. Bigger even than Apple Pay in the US, which is kind of remarkable.
Kevin really emphasized the requirement to be local and offer a great customer experience and mobile experience in that market. In China, 60% of payments are mobile (vs. 40% US). They have everything in China that they need to run Starbucks globally, as if they are a fully independent firm. There’s also a focus on leveraging Alibaba and AI to integrate with brick and mortar experiences.
I liked the questioning about balancing Brick and Mortar experience vs. growth in the Consumer Packaged Goods space – grocery stores etc. Kevin frames it this way:
- “First of all the Starbucks Brand is created in our stores.” It has everything to do with how we create a third space, warm and welcome environment for our clients. It’s how we create custom hand-crafted beverages for our clients at scale.
- CPG amplifies our brand in those other channels. If they make coffee at home, we want them to enjoy it with our premium coffees.
Also: what does the brand, Starbucks, mean? Does being part of the conversations about things outside of coffee distract from the brand? Does it get in the way of your global brand?
- Kevin: Quite the opposite. Starbucks is built around a mission that is grounded in the human experience. To do that it begins by taking care of Starbucks partners. It’s why we offer the benefits and stock options that we do. It’s why we have a college achievement plan.
- It even lowers our attrition and turnover relative to peers- so we can make a business case as well as a moral and mission case.
For the keen observer, you can see me in the background of one questioner’s shot at about 14:45 or so.