We met Liryawati, CMO of Starbucks and learned about her perspective of success and how to achieve it based on her own experience.
Please tell us about the scope of your responsibilities within the group and how you ended up there.
My work encompasses six pillars around our core business. The first one is taking care of the product, from the origins all the way to distribution in our stores. Another one is what we call loyalties and customer relationships. The third one is business insight, where we look into data, algorithm, forecasts and adjust our approach according to it. Marketing communication is another pillar. The fifth pillar is taking care of partnerships with banks, fintechs, deliveries service providers and so on in order to keep up with the trends. Last but not least is PR CSR, which is basically the DNA of the Starbucks brand as well.
The growth of Starbucks in Indonesia within the last decade has been incredible. What do you attribute this success to the most?
All credit goes to the team. This year we are celebrating our 18th anniversary, so we’ve been around for a long while and it’s certainly going to be a long term commitment going forward. I have to say it’s all about the people. Some of these guys have been here since ground zero in 2002, Plaza Indonesia.
We are not just about selling coffee; it’s our DNA that makes it different in terms of how we treat our customers up to the point where they feel at home whenever they come to our stores. And in addition to that, there’s also a distinct culture among the employees, or ‘partners’ as we like to call each other here, that takes them really enjoy being here and working here. It’s really like this is their second home and they really take pride in what they do. I’ve been working with many different companies, but the goosebumps I felt when I first joined the group is a first for me. There’s this acknowledgment from a group of people, being showered with recognition,
empowerment while they are obviously having fun doing their job. This is something beyond any titles or incentives can reward. This culture is very powerful and I think this is one of the strongest contributing factors to success.
And, of course, there’s the brand itself. Starbucks is a renownedbrand known globally, and it continues to expand. Today we have about 443 stores all around Indonesia, effectively serving the entire Indonesian population. And we leverage that with expertise in serving quality coffee and not only providing good products but maintaining consistency as well. Wherever you go you will always get the same high-quality standards for products and also for the experience delivered.
Going forward, what are your plans to further promote the success of the group from where you are standing?
We have come so far in Indonesia and we are planning to continue growing as there’s ample opportunities going forward in serving our Indonesian customers. We are going to continue to expand, and the plan is to have around perhaps 50 to 60 more stores in 2020. Also, we are signing an MOU in Papua in order to expand there as well. We will be there at all these places that are considered inaccessible to offer our products and services to yet more Indonesian customers.
Starbucks is all about connectivity and creating communities. That is what we represent. We believe Indonesia is a growing market with a bright future ahead and we are going to be there and flourish.
Personally, how do you define ‘success’?
I believe success is an endless goal that you try to achieve over the course of your lifetime. Success is never a destiny with an end. My point of view is if you want to talk about success then you need to define your targets today and when you reach it that means you’re done. Or it will always be ‘what else?’ So you need to define your success today and consistently reach for it.
Another thing, success is basically about whether or not you enjoy the process of achieving your target. To me, if you sacrifice too much to get there and not enjoying the ride then you may be too exhausted or made too many enemies along the way, then I probably wouldn’t define that as a success. Not the success that I want for myself anyway. But if you get to meet new people, you have your family and loved ones to support you, enjoy the fruits of your investment, learn new and exciting things, memories that you can recall over and over again when you’re older, to me, that’s the real satisfaction.
What advice would you give to anyone out there trying to achieve success in today’s increasingly competitive business world?
The young generation is our future. Rather than trying to make them us, we need to understand where they’re coming from. Even though they do things differently, they are a very smart generation. They want things fast, instant, less loyalty, but they are all smart.
The only piece of advice I can give them from my own experience is that whatever you are, be proud of yourself. Have the right attitude of learning from whomever around you while at the same time coupling that with hard work. There are no shortcuts except for consistent hard work.