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Starbucks Says No Guns, Others Listen
By: Janet Kalandranis
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There are a gazillion reasons Starbucks is a loved brand, and a gazillion more why this brand is so successful. Is it because Starbucks has a set of rules it follows or is there more at play than that? Maybe it’s not as complicated or thought out as it seems. Maybe Starbucks just does what is at the core of the brand and the rest simply falls into place. It also seems that Starbucks isn’t the brand that will take the middle road; one that includes the least amount of friction. Instead this brand is overtly specific about how it views the world and quite frankly doesn’t seem to care who agrees and who disagrees. But for Starbucks this works. Maybe it has to do with the way this mentality ties into the brand’s core products and services. Or maybe it’s just that the coffee and lattes are too good so people accept and drink on. Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain; Starbucks is not the brand that will sit by quietly while the world moves on around it.

It’s no surprise that Starbucks is extremely active in the social media world. The brand extends itself through various channels in order to connect with customers and stay relevant with its audience. So this past week, when tragedy struck a D.C. Navy Yard, Starbucks was quick to let its stance be known. This is a gun violence topic, something that many brands who aren’t connected to the topic stay far away from and don’t get involved. Not Starbucks. And not just the brand, but the CEO himself. Instead, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz posted an online letter telling customers not to carry guns to its coffee shops. He didn’t necessarily ban them, but he was quite close. This letter in turn created a spark of conversation on Twitter with Starbucks front and center. On a topic that has nothing to do with coffee.

And Starbucks let this conversation happen. Not backing out of its statement or making a revised one, but simply standing by its statement and continuing to serve the coffee it’s known for. It seems so simple, yet it’s a conversation, a real one, that gives a certain respect to the brand. One that is honest with its customers, and true to who and what the brand stands for.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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