Advertising, General, Journalism

If Starbucks are building localised doorways and channels through their coffee shops, can’t we do the same into rural communities?

Not for the first – nor, I suspect, the last – I have to give a hat-tip to the young tyro that is The Guardian’s Josh Halliday.

Not just for a spotting a very interesting new development in the distribution of hyper-local news, but then to have the nous to put two and two together and get two, potential pieces of the jigsaw to ‘fit’.

This was the piece that he spotted; Starbucks plan to deliver hyper-local news based on their network of local coffee-shops – all, of course, now wifi enabled.

This was the piece…

And this was the Tweet that followed…

Editors Weblog: Starbucks is thinking global, but acting #hyperlocal Ring a bell, @addiply?

It did, indeed, ring a large bell. On many a front… if truth be told.

Putting aside this long-held notion that the next content ‘Budweiser’ might actually be built not as the kind of vertical beloved by our friends across the Pond, but as a horizontal network of micro-breweries… or coffee shops… the relevation that Starbucks and Co were looking to build a portal play featuring six ‘channels’ was fascinating.

‘The coffee shop is working with Yahoo Inc. to create the new website design which consists of six free channels: news, entertainment, wellness, business, career, and my neighborhood, Starbucks. 

‘The my neighborhood category is composed of hyper-local news which is based on the location of the specific Starbucks…’
I would, presume, therefore that anyone seeking to take full use of Starbucks free wifi will be presented with a sign-in ‘doorway’ off which six ‘channels’ would then lead… come the third click, therefore, and you will be into someone else’s content.
All you have, in effect, done is to re-wire the content into the back of that doorway into a more elegant and simple format… a three-click format, in essence.
And if I were Yahoo Inc, around that initial doorway and the six ‘channels’ that would form the ’second click’ of the Starbucks website, I would be looking to drop my Yahoo local ads as fast as my new little portal proposition would let me.
Doorways, hallways, portals… whatever you want to call them … *if* behind that ‘doorway’ lies a wifi connection delivering something capable of sustaining a ‘broadcast’ model for content; one that is video led be it in terms of ‘editorial’ or advertising… then you’ve got an interesting proposition.
One that, perhaps, looks like this…
There are differences; Starbucks plan ‘news, entertainment, wellness, business, career, and my neighborhood..’
Me and our H planned Live, Love, Learn, Play, News and Shop… going forward you could do Date, Move, Travel, etc etc… build new ’second-click’ channels as we go…
Because why stop that model at the door of the local coffee shop; what if you could apply that same ‘doorway + channel’ thinking to a complete rural community?
A ‘doorway’ crucially that led into the rural promised land of super-fast wifi connection?
Through that doorway lay the way to Skype with my pals after school – those that weren’t in the coffee shop, natch. Through that ‘doorway’ could lie tele-medicine, could lie the local senior school’s media studies students and their video projects… thataway lies a whole new content and local advertising experience *once* you have the right tools to play with.
Particularly the one the lies above our heads when the penny – finally – drops that for at least 40% of this country, BT ain’t coming.
There is one other interesting aspect to all this… and that is location-based advertising models; how the ad networks get to *know* where you are.
In the Starbucks model, it’s very simple. They know where you are cos you’re sat in their coffee shop. In AnywhereVille. You ‘checked in’ when you walked through the door – first of the coffee shop and then through the door of their wifi.
Hence the ‘MyNeighbourhood…’ channel is not a complete shot in the dark that the content that might be of interest to you will be that from the blocks that surround your neighbourhood Starbucks. And if you ‘check in’ to that particular wifi cloud more than once, the chances are you’re not a visitor… you’re a local… and we can tailor both the editorial and the advertising to match. Simples.
Now apply the thoughts of one, network of US coffee shops and apply it to a network of UK villages. *Very* interesting.
As Master Halliday no doubt knew… ;)


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