A brilliant video, parody, of a guy working at Starbucks and completely botching people’s names when he writes on their cup, showed up on the internet. First of all, its hilarious, so if you haven’t seen it, I have embeded it for your viewing pleasure.
The name screw ups are hilarious and I found myself asking, is it intentional? Does it say somewhere in their marketing playbook to do this intentionally? I’ll bet not, but if it were intentional, it would be an absolutely brilliant marketing play because the risk is relatively low. Isn’t it? Maybe. Maybe not.
But tt got me thinking. The video touched on something that I don’t think the actor intended to…
Is All Press Good Press?
Now, this is obviously a highly debatable topic. In fact, we were discussing this in the office the other day (ironic timing) with the colossal Dijorno’s pizza screw up. It is almost as bad as the Malaysia Airlines Bucket List and who can forget the Red Cross getting drunk?!? Side note: I might know some jobs in marketing departments opening up soon.
In these situations, the damage was done, the average marketer will remember what happened, but the masses? I’m not sure sure. Pizza hut (I think??? Look it up up) is still in business. And so is Abercrombie and Fitch with all their craziness and stupidity.
But in the case of Starbucks, logic would say this is completely harmless for the brand.
Let’s break down the theoretical risk using some scenario planning (this is a method I learned from my colleague / Mentor / Friend / possible Rabbi Scott Hess… did I do it right?? ):
|Scenario 1: Those who just don’t care and are not on Social Media||This group is neither harmful of beneficial to starbucks. They can probably be ignored without giving it a second thought.|
|Scenario 2: Those who care but are not on social media||Listen, after all, their name was misspelled. I hate it as much as the next guy when people spell my name Erin. Do I look like a girl?!?! The threat level for this individual is also relatively low. Worst case scenario, they might go and tell a few of their friends what happened and be all grumpy about it. And hell, they should be pissed. Someone spelled their damn name wrong, dammit! If this customer is really pissed, they might never return. And no one likes to lose customers. But I would say this is a relatively extreme case, if this customer gets so pissed off because their name was mispelled, then, maybe you don’t want them as a customer in the first place.|
|Scenario 3: Those who don’t care, and are on social media||This group has a great attitude and doesn’t let the minor screw ups in life get them down. But brace yourself starbucks, they will likely find it funny and want to share it at your expense. They like sharing on starbucks, and it will make some of your staff seem relatively incompetent or suffer from severe hearing deficiencies. But overall, this is a satisfied customer, that knows not to sweat the small stuff.|
|Scenario 4: Those who care and are on Social||Starbucks, this is the group you are going to want to pay closest attention to. Why? Because they are the loudest. Typically whenever these uproars start in social, it’s from a very tiny, but extremely loud subset. They are the ones that will instantly tweet/ instagram/ facebook it. If they are really pissed off, they might even try to find creative ways to give Starbucks a bad reputation, like create a website, reach out to the press, or blog about it.|
If this were an intentional marketing push, I would say it’s actually a relatively small risk. The theoretical riskiest scenario would be scenario 4, but it’s really not all that risky. Truth be told, all the great attention that comes from this “stunt” would be quite worth pissing off a few customers. So they tweet about it, big deal. The likely hood of that actually making some kind of negative impact is slim to none given the circumstances. And what if they never come into the store again? You can’t please everyone, and in this case, the extra brand recognition and visibility might be worth the loss of a few customers.
All PR is Good PR… Depending on the Circumstances
The fact here to consider is that most people won’t “really” get annoyed about this slip of the pen too much that they abandon their local barrista. Starbucks should thank them with a gift card if they do tweet it because the brand awareness people are creating on their behalf is priceless. It’s the least the could do.
Unless of course its offensive or degrading. To combat this, Starbucks should make specific guidelines around how this is executed, erring on the extreme side of caution. That is not something to take lightly.
I say, this should, if it’s not already, be part of their strategy. It’s downright brilliant!