Starbuck 2008 PR Move was when the coffee retailer announced it would be closing its stores to focus on employee training. As a result, Starbucks garnered some nice press coverage.
Public Relations is often viewed as “free advertising.” It’s also frequently referred to as “earned media.” This is because you can’t purchase editorial press coverage, you have to earn it by doing something that’s newsworthy. Not only is PR free, it is a form of advertising that builds trust with consumers. PR is earned when a company has done something so good that its newsworthy.
With that in mind, the Starbuck 2008 PR Move was very successful. Starbucks got a lot of “free” advertising and customers were led to believe that Starbucks was intent on fixing this problem.
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Words without action mean nothing.
If you’re promising consumers quality service, then you have to show them you mean business.
Hope is an opiate of the consumer… not the savvy stock investor.
24/7 Wall Street.com calls Starbucks on the obvious “words not backed by action” quality of the “stunt”.
The nationwide program was designed to make the people working in the stores do a better job of serving customers that way that founder Howard Schultz thinks they should be served.
Investors would think that the action of closing so many stores and putting so much effort into improving service would show results immediately. These results might not last, but they would be a sign that management and employees both want to help the company’s results through better customer service.
Ok Starbucks… you’ve made a national announcement and subjected your loyal throngs to a day without Starbucks. Your PR move got plenty of news coverage. You’ve acknowledged that “Starbucks” no longer means a pristine coffee experience. You’re stepping up to the challenge. BRAVO! Here’s to the hope that springs eternal in those addicted to your liquid offerings.
Starbuck 2008 PR Move Epic Fail
Obviously, the ambiance of Starbucks is fading quickly…. the 24/7 blog continues….
A visit to a Starbucks in Mt. Kisco, New York indicates that no one was paying attention during the training day. The store was dirty. A cigarette butt at one door. A snow shovel against the new coffee makers on sale. Floors that had not been swept recently. The service area for getting milk and napkins in disarray.
Words without action mean nothing.
Many online marketing gurus declared the 2008 Starbucks publicity stunt was “creative marketing at its best.” I would agree… but only if the words are backed up by actions. A terrible Starbucks experience after the PR move = anything but great marketing.
Social media makes it so hard to manufacture “spin”. When you don’t back your words with actions, you’re willingly providing witty, articulate people with much needed meme and blog fodder. For example, this blog post at Gawker, Mandatory Job Training Was ‘AWESOME,’ Say Starbucks Robots.
If your business is not willing to back your marketing words with action – STOP! Suit up in your flame retardant underwear and prepare for the worst. You’ll often find the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are flaming.
Edited for content on June 13, 2022
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