The BigTreetop Blog

  • 09:25:45 pm on July 3, 2008 | 2
    Tags: , ,

    In March, Starbucks launched MyStarbucksIdea.com – putting itself in the humbling position of maintaining a site where customers could freely share their ideas, griefs and comments about the company very publicly with the world. It was a pretty risky move, to be sure. What if no one shared their ideas? What if all of the ideas and comments were negative? What if competitors – or even worse, employees – jumped into the fray and published scandalous information about the company?

    I’m sure all of this has happened, of course. To make matters worse, though, the popular press panned the idea, initially calling it a “glorified suggestion box,” and a sort of empty publicity stunt. A lot of customers, too, felt that it was just a ploy from a corporate giant to generate advertising buzz. But Starbucks went ahead with the initiative, hiring 40 people to staff the site, and launching a month-long in-store and online campaign with posters, cards, employee education and advertising expressing their apparent desire to involve customers.

    The once-proud Starbucks looked pretty darn bad – humbled – for the entire month of March.

    In April and May, however, something changed. As Starbucks began to make good on their commitments and disprove their detractors, the customers began to trust and to join in, and to do it en masse. At current count (after 4 months), there are approximately 47,000 ideas in the system – with the top idea receiving 95,160 votes. In addition, the popular press has begun to be noticeably more positive.

    After eating humble pie for a month and going with hat-in-hand to their customers to ask for their involvement, MyStarbucksIdea seems to be working.

    Whether Starbucks can or will follow through on what they started by implementing the top ideas is yet to be seen, but one clear lesson for any organization is that,

    though there may be initial apathy/suspicion/negativity toward a genuine effort by a business to involve customers, it needs to take the lead and prove its good intentions, then break through to the the other side where the real loyalty of grateful customers – and perhaps even the breakthrough result of runaway positive word-of-mouth awaits.

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Comments

  • Bridging the Industrial Age Gap « The BigTreetop Blog 4:18 am on September 11, 2008 | # | Reply

    […] Out With Abandon In March, Starbucks kicked off the campaign to reach out to customers. I wrote about the initial media reaction earlier in the year, but thought it might be interesting to see some of the methods they used to […]

  • SociaLens » Blog Archive » Dell IdeaStorm Case Study 4:21 pm on January 7, 2009 | # | Reply

    […] Out With Abandon In March, Starbucks kicked off the campaign to reach out to customers. I wrote about the initial media reaction earlier in the year, but thought it might be interesting to see some of the methods they used to […]


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