In the comments section, a former long-time Starbucks partner questions just how much the MyStarbucksIdea.com website will engage readers and engage Starbucks. ”Pat’s” comments got me thinking more about Starbucks social media strategy. Below is my reply to “Pat” …
Pat … I’m also not sold on Starbucks jumping into the deep end of the social media waters. The company has no meaningful experience in social media and has always shunned participating in online conversations.
Instead of opening the customer suggestion box floodgate, which is exactly what MyStarbucksIdea is, I would have started by taking a much smaller step and simply layered on a blog-like component to their existing website. On this proposed company blog, Starbucks could ask customers focused questions about their ideas on improving various aspects of the Starbucks business.
For example, a potential Starbucks blog post could read something like…
”As you’ve heard, we are discontinuing our oven-heated breakfast sandwiches. This doesn’t mean we are exiting the breakfast business. It does mean we are looking for morning food ideas that customers will enjoy more. I’m sure you have ideas on what food we should offer in the morning. Please share. We are listening.”
Another potential Starbucks blog post could say …
”When we launched the Starbucks Card in 2001, we had no idea it would be accepted by so many of our customers. 15% of you purchase all your Starbucks stuff on the Card. That’s amazing! Thank you. We want to “thank” Starbucks Card users even more. Please share your ideas on how we can reward you for your continued devotion to Starbucks.”
The company could reply to customer suggestions to these focused questions in the comments section. Starbucks could do a weekly round-up of the most popular ideas and post updates on which ideas are moving forward.
This focused approach to (a) participating in social media and (b) gathering customer suggestions would be easier for a company with no meaningful social media experience to manage. It would also make it easier for Starbucks customers to follow-along. The current MyStarbucksIdea website is already unwieldy — lots of wayward ideas have been suggested and many of the ideas suggested are repeated numerous times in various categories. This website will only get more unwieldy.
A more focused approach to participating in the social media waters would probably have been a better path for Starbucks to undertake.
johnmoore (from Brand Autopsy)