The Costa Coffee Approach

Have you noticed that Costa Coffee are currently giving Starbucks a lesson in English grammar?

Well, unless you’re as pedantic as I can be about correct use of language, you may not have given it any thought.

Let me explain…

For some time now I’ve been irritated every time I have coffee somewhere where they have a license to serve Starbucks. That includes the canteens of several of my client organisations and a certain airline I’ve been using to get across the Atlantic recently.

The irritation comes from that slogan, printed on the cups:

“We proudly serve Starbucks coffee”

The use of that adverb really annoys me. Not just because it’s grammatically rather clumsy, but because it also attaches the pride to the service and not the Starbucks coffee – which I don’t think is the intention.

So, I was delighted to notice a sign outside a local pub, proclaiming:

“We are proud to serve Costa Coffee”

Aah! A copy-writer who understands English! Oh, the relief!

So what? Why am I wasting my first blog of the year waffling about English grammar when I could be inspiring you about New Year’s resolutions, goals for 2013 or how to re-engage your team after the Christmas break?

Well, it struck me that you and I can both learn something from the Costa approach: sometimes, instead of getting irritated by someone doing something we deem to be ‘incorrect’ or ‘inappropriate’ there might be more to be gained from simply demonstrating a better approach.

Otherwise known as leading by example.

So, if you were going to lead by example today, this week, this month or this year, what example do you want to show your world?


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