Magic Johnson: Building Long-lasting Profitable Relationships
Earvin Magic Johnson was once known as a larger than life NBA world champion basketball player. As an oversized 6’9 point guard, he mystified crowds and frustrated opponents.
Today he owns, Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company valued at $700 million. The company engages in asset acquisition and management, licensing, and marketing to name a few.
His insights of knowing his customer creates huge profit margins for his business investments. He is a pioneer in helping to bring the modern version of Corporate America to Black America.
Back in the 1990’s, Magic Johnson Theater became a springboard for his partnership with Starbucks’. The Seattle-based coffee company does not traditionally partner with companies. However, Johnson persuaded Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz by showing his vision at work. He took Schultz to a movie première which gave a small insight to the power of the black dollar.
Once the ink was dry, the haters questioned how Johnson was going to get Black America to pay for a $3 cup of coffee.
“I had to take the scones out of [my] Starbucks and put in things that resonate with the urban consumer–sweet potato pie, pound cake, Sock-It-To-Me-Cake” – Magic Johnson
Johnson had been a relationship with on the court – and those transferable skills helped in the corporate boardroom. He understood how he had the advantage in knowing his customer base – cultural intelligence.
He was able to not only reach is sales mark for beverages, but also exceeded his sales for accessory items. His Starbucks franchises were the most profitable per capita of all Starbucks stores.
In a chat with students at Stanford University, Johnson talks about the importance of understanding his customer and over-delivering results to consumers and business partners.