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book review

Onward: How Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul, by Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon

Wiley, £14.99

Saatchi & Saatchi's Kevin Roberts is best known for his idea of Lovemarks, brands that achieve such a strong bond with consumers the link goes well beyond normal marketing relations. Not an idea usually associated with Starbucks.

So ubiquitous had the coffee shop chain become—and so synonymous with an aggressive approach to High Street saturation—that Schultz's vision "to inspire the human spirit" had been lost. The brand was associated only with uninspiring coffee and a bullying, corporate approach.

In 2008, the business was a long way from inspiring Wall Street analysts, let alone the human spirit. Which was why Schultz stepped back into the chief executive's hot seat. The story of how he achieved a remarkable turnaround is laid out here. It works as an extended business case study for how to maintain a set of strong core values while growing a powerhouse brand. But the book is also an insight into the challenges faced by anyone keen to build a socially conscious business that is also highly profitable.