Bad LSM: Be Local or Don’t
Some big brands do a great job of feeling local to their customers. Take Trader Joe’s for example – they do their homework and make sure their signage feels specific to that store and surrounding community. The picture below was taken in the Old Town Alexandria, Va. Trader Joe’s.
They could have easily just made a sign for orchids, but this little extra detail is neat and feels personal.
Now, let’s move onto the bad example for the week. Usually, we try to conceal the identity of the offending business, but we can’t do that with this particular photo. See below.
No, this sign isn’t going to ruin anybody’s day or prevent them from getting their cup of coffee, but it really doesn’t fit the brand that Starbucks wants to portray. On their website, Starbucks describes their coffee shops as “neighborhood gathering places” and “a part of the daily routine” in the various communities they serve. However, this signage doesn’t read “neighborhood.” It reads corporate, mass-produced and cookie cutter. Plus, the writing is smudged and the sign is oddly placed on the community board.
All that said, this Starbucks is located in Crystal City, Va. – right outside of Washington, D.C. and near the Pentagon, hotels, an airport and other corporate offices. So, this lame sign is probably not hurting their business. But, why not embrace the local community of politics, government, and history? They could take it a step further and thank the servicemen and service women that protect our country, or welcome those that are visiting from out of state (or out of the country) to the Washington, D.C. area.
Bottom line: do your homework and make your brand as local as you can, or stick to the corporate script. Trying to play both sides often looks amateurish and can be confusing to customers.