Starbucks: Building Online Communities around Coffee

Rosanna_D    October 14, 2014



Organization Name: Starbucks

Industry: Food and Beverage

Web references:

Starbucks_5    Starbucks_6

Starbucks turned to social media to connect with existing customers and to introduce new customers to their brand and products. Today, the company has more than 35 million Facebook followers; close to seven million Twitter followers; more than three million Instagram followers and several Pinterest boards. Starbucks is a great example of a company who has created online communities that enable their customers to enhance their brand while driving company and brand messaging.

Who knew that coffee could be this interesting!!

The company has successfully built social media platforms that encourage customers to share their coffee experiences and favourite coffee flavours; post photos; send and load up on Starbucks cards; and, participate in consumer surveys. Most of the posts on their Facebook page are driven by customers as opposed to Starbucks employees.

“My mission is to bring digital to life as part of the Starbucks experience; making it meaningful and relevant for customers and our employees. I want to show the business and the brand how digital can round off the customer’s Starbucks experience.”

Alex Wheeler, Vice President of Global Digital Marketing at Starbucks – Marketing Week Magazine

My Starbucks idea

To build on accountability and trust, Starbucks created My Starbucks Idea in 2008 – an online ‘idea’ community where customers can share, vote and comment on new customer ideas.  Over the past five years, the company launched more than 300 customer ideas.

Starbucks took it a step further and added Ideas in Action to the community page so that customers could see the full list of ideas under review; ideas that have been reviewed; ideas currently in the works; and, ideas that had been launched. Talk about transparency!!

So what does this all mean?

With the onset of social media, customers are demanding that companies be more transparent and accountable. They are looking to connect with brands and products on a much deeper level. This is what drives their loyalty. Customers want to be engaged in the process – they want to be in the drivers seat of the conversation.

Lessons for others:

Listen and respond – keep a pulse on what your customers are saying about your brand and products. If there is an issue or complaint – respond quickly

Engage your customers – keep things interesting. Whether it’s new products or new ideas – customers like to be part of the conversation

Keep it natural – don’t over complicate your communication. Keep the dialogue simple as if you are speaking with your customer face-to-face. Avoid company jargon.

Other Resources:

Submitted By: Rosanna D’Alessandro

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