OPINION29 January 2010

WOM expert is lukewarm on MyStarbucksIdea

Brand Autopsy’s John Moore feels let down by Starbucks’ big social media experiment, as only six of 53 ideas implemented to date can be credited to consumers. But financially the firm’s form is improving. Is Moore focusing on the wrong metric?

I’ve just come across a blog post (thanks to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association) which serves as an interesting follow-up to a story we carried almost two years ago: Starbucks’ attempts to use social media to crowdsource ideas to help revitalise its business.

The MyStarbucksIdea.com website has so far generated more than 80,000 ideas, of which over 50 have been implemented. “Sounds great. Sounds impactful,” writes Brand Autopsy’s John Moore. But wait a minute, he says.

Drilling down, Moore claims that only six of the 53 ideas genuinely came straight from the minds of consumers. The rest are “ideas Starbucks already had in motion… ideas Starbucks incorrectly takes credit for implementing… and employee ideas”. And of the six customer ideas, Moore states that none can be said to have significantly affected the business.

I’ll be interested to hear your take on whether Starbucks’ social media experiment can be considered a failure, in the light of Moore’s analysis. I suppose the answer really depends on whether ongoing consumer dialogue and small incremental change to a business are enough to justify a social media strategy, or whether you think such interactions should bring about massive tangible upheavals.

Starbucks may well be guilty of over-egging its achievements – but name me a commercial outfit that can plead innocent to that charge. And anyway, perhaps Moore is focused on the wrong metrics. The numbers from MyStarbucksIdea might be lacklustre, but otherwise the business seems to have achieved its aim of recovery.


1 Comment

14 years ago

firstly - tapping into the latent creativity of employees IS co-creation. It should be the first step in any social business initiative. Moore is using old world metrics for a new paradigm. Making their business more social by design is helping Starbucks address short-term decline AND setting themselves up for the new playing field that is upon us - where social technology is helping to redefine the enterprise by allowing for collective collaborative internally and externally to drive the business forward.

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