Possibly one of the trendiest, popular coffee chains, Starbucks, implemented a campaign to reach out to customers for their input and interaction. Starbucks released the “My Starbucks Idea” campaign to get feedback from their customers of ideas they have to improve Starbucks. In order to submit an idea, all that is required of the user is to log on to the Starbucks website and post the idea. Once the idea is posted it is public and other users are able to vote on the idea. Starbucks then looks into the ideas and implements a variety of ideas. Some ideas that have already been implemented since the campaign took flight are (Starbucks website):
- However-you-want-it Frappuccino is Officially Here May 4, 2010 by Jennifer K
- New Highly Energy-efficient LED Lighting Coming to a Starbucks near You April 26, 2010 by Sue Long
- Molasses Cookie Returns April 23 by sbx_mdro
- One Person Can Save Trees. Together we can Save Forests. April 12, 2010 by Heidi Durham
- Help us Develop a More Recyclable Coffee Cup – Join the Beta Cup Challenge April 2, 2010 by Sue Long
- Starbucks Card Mobile Payment Now Available at all Target® Starbucks Stores April 1, 2010 by Chuck Davidson
The idea behind this campaign honors the POST Method and the five objectives to apply to social media, which were articulated by Li and Bernoff authors of the Groundswell book. The POST method is an acronym for people, objectives, strategy, and technology. These four principles are important in creating a social media campaign (Lia and Bernoff, 67).
People: The “people” strategy poses the questions: what are your customers ready for (Lia and Bernoff, 67)? This question is imperative to understand how the demographic that the company is working with will respond to the social media. It would have been unwise if Starbucks was a fresh and new company that didn’t have much of a fan base to participate in the My Starbucks Idea campaign. The people that have already invested in the company wouldn’t have been ready to offer feedback and there wouldn’t have been a big following to vote. Because Starbucks is such a well-known company, that has a reputation of excellent customer service and the ability to adapt to its customers, the My Starbucks Idea campaign fit. It was wise and a good reflection of how well Starbucks knows it customers. If the people can’t invest the campaign will not go anywhere.
Objectives: The “objectives” strategy poses an important question, what are your goals? The company must have a goal or objective to works towards. Without the goal, it will not be able to create a functioning plan. There needs to be an outcome in mind. The My Starbucks Idea campaign had a goal of a stronger connection with the customer, ideas to improve Starbucks, and an online buzz. Through the My Starbucks Idea campaign, Starbucks was essentially given free business plans from their customers.
Strategy: The “strategy” component calls to question, how do you want your relationships with your customers to change (Lia and Bernoff, 68). This question could perhaps be the most important question. In order to develop the strategy there has to be a way to measure the change and goal. With the My Starbucks Idea campaign, Starbucks wanted a greater interaction with their customer. They wanted to establish the relationship that Starbuck was willing to hear what the customer had to say and implement it. Not only did Starbucks change their relationship with the customer, they created a collaborative environment between the customers to comment and vote about each idea, thus, providing a trusting relationship and building communication to further the brand.
Technology: The “technology” component asks the company, what applications should you build? This question allows the company to have a starting block to implement the strategy and objective. In the My Starbucks Idea campaign it was important to have an application that allowed any person to access with the internet. It was important to keep the technology simple in order for people of any age to access it and add to it. The My Starbucks Idea was an extension of the website; it was a simple page with simple instructions. It kept the brand holistic and continued the scheme of the website.
The five objectives to apply to social media are: listening, talking, energizing, supporting, and embracing (Lia and Bernoff, 68).
Listening: Listening is important to understand the customer and their needs; this can be through many different outlets, such as: surveys, focus groups, question and answer sessions, etc. (Lia and Bernoff, 69). My Starbuck Idea campaign uses the listening component to find out what the customer would like to see at Starbucks. The entire idea of the campaign revolves around listening to the customer to improve.
Talking: Talking is the way to spread messages about the company, through talking, posting, and interacting the customer will be more invested in the company. Starbucks does this by posting on the page what ideas they are working on. This shows the customer that they are taking into consideration what the customer has to say.
Energizing: The idea of energizing is that the social media promotes people to talk about the campaign verbally; therefore they show their excitement for the product. Starbucks does this by allowing others to comment on the ideas that start the conversation.
Supporting: Lia and Bernoff suggest to support the customer by providing help the customers support each other. Starbucks accomplishes this by allowing the customers to vote on each other’s ideas, therefore allowing them to support each other.
Embracing: In order to embrace customers it is important to allow them to help the company, for example: allow them to help with design, ask for their input, etc. Starbucks masters this task with the My Starbucks Idea campaign. This is usually the most challenging goal and it is suggested that it is used by companies that have succeeded in the other four. Since Starbucks has mastered the other four, they continue to embrace their customers by asking them what they want from Starbucks and implementing the ideas.