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PSL season is back. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte season, that is.

In case you haven’t noticed, this drink has garnered a fan following in recent years. While the coffee giant didn’t invent the flavor, it has cornered the market and attracted robust media attention. Here’s what business owners can take away from its success and notoriety:

1) Don’t be afraid to innovate. The original spiced drink recipe didn’t go over well. In fact, customers had expressed an interest in other seasonal flavors and even demanded that they ditch artificial ingredients. However, Starbucks did what’s prudent and listened to their customer base. They modified the recipe. The lesson here? Sometimes the first version isn’t a smashing success, but with some tweaks, you can meet demand.
2) Exude confidence. Starbucks is a brand leader for a reason. They know how to market to their base and it doesn’t just hinge on their menu items. It’s the whole experience as a “third place.” As a business owner, you need to take find ways to gain command of your industry or segment. A gimmick or promotion every now and then can be a good thing.
3) Stay grounded. Don’t let your ego take over at the risk of neglecting to listen to your customer base. As mentioned above, Starbucks’ customers (or the most vocal ones, at least) spoke their minds and corporate responded accordingly. Customers felt validated and the company benefited from being in touch with concerns. The drink continues to be a seasonal best seller and that’s no accident.
4) Have fun. Starbucks’ PSL is a novelty and the company plays on that element. That light-hearted approach is reflected on their social channels. Maybe your product or service isn’t “fun,” but something less sexy. Don’t feel stifled. How can you infuse an element of playfulness or lightheartedness?

So, what can you take from away from the PSL phenomenon? Share your comments on our Facebook Page.