Starbucks has a foundation of customers who are passionate about its brand. More than 60 million people visit a Starbucks coffee shop each week. Their Facebook page has more than 36 million fans and after the launch of their discussion-based website to solicit ideas and input, customers have submitted more than 200,000 ideas.
Starbucks became popular by establishing human connections with its customers and employees, hiring the most enthusiastic employees and maintaining their dedication with training, “corporate rituals” and recognition for excellent performance.
They understood before others that digital marketing requires different tools than marketing in traditional media:
- They switched to a mobile-first approach, where their App amplifies word of mouth as their model for online public relations.
- Leverage digital marketing for building their brand’s identity, generating buzz and finding sales leads.
- Offer direct access and fast support across all channels.
- Don’t make direct pitches on social media; instead, engage the community.
- They have started tracking customer involvement and the precise return of their digital investment.
- They rely upon digital engagement and gamification also internally: an engaged workforce means that employees can do what is right for customers without having to be told.
- Their app is becoming an open platform, at the heart of Starbucks partners’ customer engagement initiatives.
“We take the ordinary...and give it new life, believing that what we create has the potential to touch others’ lives because it touched ours.” - and thanks to a best-in-class customer experience, a 2 cent coffee blend turns into a 2 dollar cup :)
Be brave: if you’re unwilling to take your brand into new digital spaces, like making your customer-facing app strategy evolve into a digital engagement platform strategy, your customers will lose interest in it as others bring forward new products and new ideas.
Are you as clever as Starbucks?