Since 2008, Starbucks have been experimenting with online consumer Social Engagement Initiatives and are both learning from their experience and also seeing valuable business benefit from these projects.
Starbucks did not start out with a social engagement strategy, what they did start with was a small team led by Mathew Guiste and Alex Wheeler, who were given the freedom to test and try social projects and evaluate their impact on the business. Through this process, Starbucks now have a global engaged community who have access to the business through multiple social channels, which include the main Public Social Networks Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr as well as hosting their own customer community called mystarbucksidea.
Through these initiatives Starbucks have gained the trust of their community and their permission to engage them in conversation, which enables Starbucks to gain valuable insight and feedback from their customers which can be used in the creation of new and development of existing product lines.
Through mystarbucksidea, the Starbucks community, ideas are reviewed, prepared for launch and the launched. Over 100 ideas have gone through this process and have been launched, a list of them can be found here.
In addition to mystarbucksidea, Starbucks can listen to their customer conversations both in their managed and owned communities, but also across all other public social networks and individual customer conversations. Starbucks can use this information to find out what their customers are talking about outand use this inconjunction with other insights to assist in developing marketing and business plans.
During a consulting project with Alterian we carried out a study on conversations around 5 Starbucks Christmas flavours in the UK, Singpaore and Australia using AlterianSM2. The case study below, highlights Starbucks primary social media initiatives and the key findings from the Listening project in December 2010.
Mathew Guiste talks bout Starbucks Social Media and Open Innovation initiatives.