The Power of the Brand

Jul 03, 2010

A lot of people complain about big chain stores, like Starbucks or Walmart, because they feel like the companies lack soul and prevent small local businesses from flourishing. I recognize this might well be true, but it’s not clear to me that small local businesses are necessarily great either - if I think about the reasons I choose a store or product, brand really stands out as a differentiator, because a brand stands for certain attributes. For example, I know that at Starbucks I’m going to get a pretty decent cup of coffee, a terrible bagel, and a clean, comfortable place to hang out. Whether I’m in my home town of San Francisco or around the world in Thailand, I know that experience will be there.

I wonder why more small services don’t have big chain-brands. Why is there no Starbucks for dry cleaners, so I know that the quality of my wash will be good no matter where I go? Why is there no Starbucks of tailors so I can get sized and a great pair of pants hemmed wherever I go?

There must be dozens of businesses that are just waiting to have a unifying brand - what else am I missing?