YES, And…


Why Is Starbucks So Bad At Spelling Names?

If you frequent Starbucks, or are on social media, you’ve likely seen pictures of simple names like “Rachel” horribly translated into something like “Raychill” when written on a cup of coffee.

There is a theory that Starbucks does this on purposes, and if you think about it, there is brilliance in it. People who post Starbucks’ name mistakes on social media are giving Starbucks free advertising. This has become a part of their story. It’s a charming, subtle way to create a memory for someone that they can then share with their community (Facebook friends). It has become somewhat of an expectation, and now people cannot wait to see how badly the barista mangles their name on their cup of coffee.

Combine that with the logo, the color scheme, and the “grande”-sized coffee that ironically falls into the “medium”-sized cup, and you get a consistent experience every time you walk into a Starbucks, anywhere in the country.

Why? Because Starbucks wanted to paint a picture from which you would view their product, and continue to cultivate that brand image over time.


Merrian Webster defines “brand” (in this context) as:

A class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer.

Let’s deconstruct that for a second. “Starbucks” is a brand name, which satisfies the first part of that definition. But is Starbucks a brand because of its name? No. Starbucks is a name because of the brand it has built over decades and continues to cultivate today.

Do you follow?

When we think of a brand, we think of it as a story you’re telling people who want to hear it. This story is evergreen. This story continues to build over time, connecting all of your products & services to one overarching narrative. Your story creates an anchor from which people view what you have to offer them, even if they’re seeing it for the first time.

Your brand is your story.

Why Your Story Matters

Buying a new home is a seminal moment in anyone’s lives. This is where they’re going to build their future. This is where new memories will be made. People are not just buying houses. They’re setting the stage for the next years & decades of the play that is their life.

What’s your role in this? It is certainly much greater than simply selling them four walls and new appliances. The story you tell your prospective buyers, whether you’re intentional about it or not, is going to be the story they use to frame their buying decision. If your story stands out, inspires, or connects to an emotion, then you will stand out from your competitors.

Knowing Who You Want to Hear Your Story

This starts by understanding what is meaningful and valuable to you as a builder/developer. Then you ask yourself: does THAT thing matter? If you told someone THAT thing, would they care?

Some people are thrilled by sci-fi books that bring the unimaginable to life. Some people enjoy biographies that teach them things about real-life figures they never knew before. Others dive head-first into fictional romance novels that are emotional rollercoasters.

Trying to tell a singular brand story that is meaningful to everyone is impossible. Your story isn’t for everyone. People have differences in what’s important to them, the future they envision, and the lifestyle they live. Therefore, it is essential that your story is something that speaks to a very specific group of prospects in a very meaningful way. Otherwise, in trying to placate the masses, you dilute your story to the point that it means a little bit to a lot of people, instead of meaning a great deal to a choice few.

Speak TO Your Prospects, Not AT Them

This is the difference between a one-way and a two-way street.

Speaking AT Your Prospects:

  • Having a generic message about your development/community
  • Listing simple benefits and amenities
  • Putting your community out to everyone looking for a home, regardless of their perceived preferences or the intricacies of community
  • Sending email after email with meaningless content
  • Diluting your message so its amenable to everyone

Speaking TO Your Prospects:

  • Knowing what story you want to tell before you put out any information
  • Creative messaging that speaks to someone who you know would want to live in your community
  • Listing benefits that go beyond basic amenities
  • Curating your advertising targeting to meet the perceived demographic & lifestyle profiles of your prospective buyer
  • Orchestrating an email campaign that provides meaningful updates and information

If you want people to hear you instead of just listen to you, give them a reason to. In a world full of noise, their attention is extremely value. If they choose to pay attention, give them something worth paying attention to. In return, they’ll give you even more.

Every Touch-Point Is An Opportunity

Every Starbucks cup of coffee has their logo. That logo leaves the store, and is paraded around the world until that person finishes their coffee. Better yet, that cup probably has a name that spelled wrong.

The most important thing about building a brand is consistency. Every touch-point is an opportunity to reinforce your brand. Building familiarity with your brand breeds comfort, memorability, and excitement.

Maintaining consistency is more difficult that one may think. It means every email that goes out, every postcard in the mail, and every digital ad needs to FEEL and SOUND like it’s coming from you. Your sales people need to reflect your tone, look, and feel. The more your prospects interact with your content, the more YOUR story will become ingrained into THEIR story.

What’s Your Story?

Do you have a story to tell? Let us help you tell it. Contact us to see how we can help, or simply to learn more about our story. We’re happy to tell it.