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Starbucks: love your customers and they’ll do your PR for you

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 13th March 2012

Word of mouth has always been the nirvana of PR campaigns. It’s something that I tried to explain to PR graduates at the PRCA’s careers day last week.

The truth is, I told them, that great companies don’t actually need to do PR. That’s because they do PR automatically, every single day. They love their customers, make great products and services for them and, because they go the extra mile, they get fantastic word of mouth. They get great PR.

There are plenty of examples of companies that do this really well. And, in the digital age, where anyone can share great, positive (and negative!) feedback about a company at the click of a button or the tap of a touchscreen, the possibilities for companies and PRs have never been better.

Your name on your coffee

So I was intrigued to see a great little example of this from Starbucks (via Vikki).

As you can see below, Starbucks has put together a great little video announcing that, these days “everything seems a little impersonal. That’s why from now on we’re going to refer to you as your folks intended – by your name.”

So, when ordering a coffee they’ll ask for your name and put that on your mug alongside your order.

There is a promotion running alongside it whereby if you go into Starbucks on the morning of the 14th March (the day this all kicks off) you’ll get a free latte. This also coincides with another innovation – the addition of an extra shot of coffee as standard.

It’s the small things that encourage advocacy

This might seem a small step by Starbucks, but it is precisely small things like this that can turn someone from a customer into an advocate.

I know there are plenty of people out there that don’t like Starbucks as a company. But little things like free WIFI, mobile payment and now your name on your coffee are all examples of how the company is thinking about its customers and putting them at the heart of the business.

What’s your wow moment?

It will be interesting to see the amount of positive PR that Starbucks gets in the run up to this and on the day itself (and in the months following) but I imagine that, for most customers, the moment when you walk into Starbucks and they ask for you by name, you will sit up and say ‘wow, that’s great‘.

It’s these little ‘wow’ moments that every company should be aiming for as part of their PR and social media PR strategies.

So well done to Starbucks, check out the video below and don’t forget to get your free coffee on Wednesday.

Danny Whatmough