You've taken some heat lately. But not the good perfectly brewed kind of heat but flack. And lots of it.
It's ashame because you for so long were a simple brand standing for quality and experience around coffee. Strong branding and attention to detail, not manipulation and fluffery built your once impenetrable brand. But then like the weak Tall Americano you became it got watered down.
But that's where you got it right. You did a Full Montey and called yourselves out for dropping the quality and muddling the experience. To rebuild yourselves you first shut down for some coffee making 101 (after pulling the delicious tasting but horrendous smelling breakfast sandwiches) and are now working on the experience itself.
The other day, when in a Starbucks which has become a rare event, I got a little tab of paper printed with "MyStarbucksIdea.com" . I was intrigued, visited the site, and found something that could be called social marketing, crowdsourcings, consumer research, CRM, Leveraging your fan base, starting a dialog, mining you net promoters or any one of a number of other terms spewed out at a conference near you. I simply thought it was smart. Ask the people who care about you how to make the experience better, in a way they will really care about.
Kudos for not talking about how great your experience is and spending those resources to simply make it better.
I look forward to a stiff Americano in the near future and hearing about the great things you've done. And for the record I'd prefer it not to involve Cranium, but that's another story.
A Returning Fan