Starbucks Dabbles with Corporate Democracy
In a piece for Business Week Jeff Jarvis, author of BuzzMachine (among other things), profiles Starbucks’s MyStarbucksIdea.com concept — an initiative Jeff calls a foray into corporate democracy. The site allows Starbucks customers to offer advice on improving its customer service, products or business practices. Starbucks (the retail chain) benefits from good ideas it may soon implement, and Starbucks (the brand) benefits by connecting with customers at higher, more emotional level — through a conversation in which customers have a voice, and Starbucks listens and responds.
“‘If [an idea] fails,” says [Starbucks CTO] Bruzzo, “our customers who are on MyStarbucksIdea ought to participate in being accountable for it.’ Whether an idea is accepted or not, customers get only the satisfaction of participating; there are no payments or other tangible rewards.”
What an excellent example of a brand-as-conversation, or what we at FM call (and Jeff often criticizes!) conversational marketing.