Sunday, September 14, 2008

Caffeinate-to-Innovate: How Starbuck’s is Getting Back Mojo with “My Starbuck’s Idea.”

Here’s a great story shared with me from my friend Gerald Haman in the monthly “Innovators’ Digest”.

A year ago, a leaked memo from Starbuck's founder Howard Schultz was a clarion call for change. The subject line of the memo was "the commoditization of our brand. Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store."

The good news is that Starbuck's has begun a new effort to reconnect customers with the original culture. They've launched "My Starbuck's Idea" – a website that invites consumers to help shape the future of Starbuck's by sharing their ideas.

The site has an engaging promise. Share. Discuss. Vote. And see. The "see" is the critical element – Starbuck's is actually putting the ideas into action. What's more, all ideas have an equal chance in the marketplace because each idea is voted on by the public.

The ideas from the public are percolating.

Here's a recent idea that made the most "popular" list with 23,230 points: (votes) "I work at home as a remote employee. There have been many times that I have wanted to treat a co-worker to a Starbucks for helping me out on a project, or just to brighten their day. Wouldn't it be neat if you could purchase a drink for someone via the Starbucks web site? The recipient gets an email stating, for example, "Suzanne bought you a drink!" The recipient prints the email (with a barcode) and takes it to their nearest Starbucks to redeem."

Another simple idea received over 29,000 points. "For the iced coffee drinks. Make them with ice cubes made from coffee. This way the coffee does not become diluted and tastes so much better all the way to the bottom of the cup!"

The thousands of ideas so far range from creating healthier drinks and food choices to avant-garde ways to enhance the "in store" experience. The real mojo is that Starbuck's is once again becoming an idea driven company and it is inviting customers to be involved. Thousands of ideas are pouring in and it's a win-win for Starbucks. Customers are getting a voice and the company is getting a nation-wide marketing department.


1. How might you make your customers a loyal part of your marketing team?
2. What might be some smart ways to get ideas for your company?
3. How might you create better experiences that turn customers into true evangelists?

Check it out.

Gerald “Solutionman” Haman invites you and your team to join him and his Certified Innovation Coaches for two powerful days of training that accelerates innovation and unleashes your full creative potential. Make plans to attend one of these upcoming 2008 public workshops:

Chicago: Oct. 13-14, Nov. 17-18 & Dec. 11-12
Washington, DC-Arlington, VA: Sept. 18-19
New York City: Nov. 13-14
Dallas: Oct. 20-21

Learn more at

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