Home With All Else Failing, Starbucks Tries Social Media

With All Else Failing, Starbucks Tries Social Media

With Starbucks’ stock beaten down from its mighty highs of $47 to recent lows of $17 in the face of strong competition from Peet’s, Caribou, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts and a suffering economy, the coffee house chain has made many changes over the past few months. From eliminating jobs and reshuffling management to permanently shutting down lagging stores and retraining its baristas, perhaps none of these moves will be as important or effective in the long run as the development and launch of My Starbucks Idea.

This is a guest post by Muhammad Saleem, a social media consultant and a top-ranked community member on multiple social news sites.

No, I don’t mean my idea personally (although I do have some ideas for the company), but rather the collective ideas of every Starbucks loyalist, hopped up on caffeine. Simply put, My Starbucks Idea is a socially driven marketplace for Starbucks-related ideas that will help the company reinvent itself.

You know better than anyone else what you want from Starbucks. So tell us. What’s your Starbucks Idea? Revolutionary or simple — we want to hear it. Share your ideas, tell us what you think of other people’s ideas and join the discussion. We’re here, and we’re ready to make ideas happen. Let’s get started.

All you need to do to participate is sign up on the site using a username, password, and an email address. Once you’re logged in, you can post your idea in one of 13 categories:

Every posted idea immediately shows up in the recent ideas queue, where it is voted on in a Digg-style manner. If it gets enough votes, it gets ‘promoted’ to the popular ideas list and top all-time list, from which Starbucks employees and management pick the best ideas to actually implement in stores. If your idea catches someone’s eye, it will be labeled as **under review**, and if they actually decide to implement it, you will see a **coming soon** tag next to the idea.

A complete list of ideas that are going to be implemented can be found in the ideas in action section of the site.

Overall, the site is an absolutely great idea. In many ways it is very similar to Dell’s IdeaStorm which I similarly praised. Every company could benefit from its own implementation of a socially driven marketplace for ideas, especially major consumer brands such as Starbucks and Apple, which have developed an incredibly loyal core following. Such marketplaces can help companies capitalize on the passions of their their most important fans and deliver on the promises of the next big thing without huge research budgets.

My Starbucks Idea has been a huge success so far, just like Dell’s IdeaStorm before it. Approximately a month after launching, the site has gotten a plethora of great idea submissions from Starbucks-lovers, and the most popular submissions have gotten tens of thousands of points (votes) and hundreds of comments. As long as Starbucks keeps letting the community freely voice its opinion and keeps implementing the crème de la crème of the community’s ideas, the company has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Disclaimer: I own Starbucks stock.

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