It’s funny as I began to think about this blog thought it would be a no brainer. After all, it’s about branding in the digital age. I’ve been in digital since the first banner was sold. Technically, I was in it before.
I am a brand loyalist. If I have a personal affinity to a brand I tell everyone online and offline. When I think about the brands I love the most, many are digital: Google, Facebook and Twitter. The other brands I love are Apple and Starbucks. Oddly enough I don’t visit the brand in a social media environment.
If I had to pick a brand based on these guidelines I’d choose Starbucks. As most know, Starbucks is always listed as one of the top ten brands using social media effectively.
A recent post in Social Media Today delves into Starbucks surprising Facebook page. The page was created in 2008 and has grown. It has close to 30 million “likes.” It has the typical corporate content that covers products, new products, promotions and the like. The Starbucks page is also a hot bed for controversy from fans, customers and Starbucks itself.
During the last few months the Starbucks page has been laden with political speech. Two controversial topics brewed (no pun intended): Starbucks’ explicit endorsement of the marriage equality bill in its home state of Washington, and a boycott organized by the National Gun Victim’s Action Council to protest Starbucks’ policy of allowing customers to carry guns in stores when and where it’s legal. (Social Media Today, 2012)
So to answer the question, “How has the brand’s presence in social media strengthened the brand,” I scratch my head a bit. I think it has strengthened the brand to its passionate loyalists. Just read the page and you’ll see many accolades thanking Starbucks for staying true, being supportive and not backing down.
This Valentine’s Day a bunch of people negatively posted that they were planning on boycotting Starbucks if the company did change its point of view on guns. Equal or greater than the negative comments was an influx of positive comments supporting and applauding the brand.
Branding Personality reports that in the past 3 years, Starbucks has grown its “Facebook Fan” count to over 27,600,000 Fans! Making it number 33 on the All Facebook Stats Facebook Page Leader Board. This number is absolutely off the charts for a consumer brand product. In fact, Starbucks Facebook Page comes in at number 2 for all consumer brand products, according to All Facebook Stats. (Branding Personality, 2012)
Starbucks has a Twitter page with 2 million followers. The company responds to followers every day. It’s amazing how they truly interact with followers. I keep watching its growth and admire the company for listening, responding and engaging. Isn’t that what everyone says they’ll do vis a vis social media? And isn’t that where they fall short.
Gembarski, R. (n.d.). How Starbucks Built an Engaging Brand on Social Media | Facebook for Businesses and Social Media by Branding Personality. Facebook for Businesses and Social Media Personal Branding by Branding Personality. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://www.brandingpersonality.com/how-starbucks-built-an-engagin-brand-on-social-media/
Online Marketing Trends: Top 15 Globally Most Active Brands Using Social Media. (n.d.). Online Marketing Trends. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from http://www.onlinemarketing-trends.com/2011/02/top-15-globally-most-active-brands.html