Last Wednesday Starbucks got everyone very excited when they launched their new PR campaign to offer everyone a free latte to celebrate a new initiative to stop charging customers for an extra shot of coffee, should they want it.
Being a daily Starbucks customer myself, there was no way I was going to miss out on this opportunity so popped to Great Marlborough Street to see what was happening. Inside I was greeted at the back of the queue by a smiley member of staff who was waiting for me to say the magic password “Hi my name is Jacqueline” – a compulsory part of the exercise in order to obtain your free latte.
I then gave the barista my name and order and once it was ready they called my name to say it was ready, rather than the name of the drink as they usually do. I honestly found that this kind of service brightened my day, and reminded me of the same sense of welcome conveyed when you walk into a store in the United States. The atmosphere was very buzzy with lots of strangers talking to each other discussing the goings-on. The happiness was definitely spreading and you could certainly tell that people left with a smile on their face having had a happy start to their day.
In terms of lifestyle PR, Starbucks are THE go-to brand, having created the ultimate lifestyle experience through its brand. Buying a Starbucks has (through effective branding, marketing and PR) become a choice based on your lifestyle, rather than your thirst.
What is the general verdict on this new campaign though? As a stereotype, we Brits may deem this an invasion of privacy. In my opinion, having that personal touch does make the customer feel special and this was proven by the atmosphere in Starbucks on the day. With customer service standards seemingly dwindling these days let’s hope Starbucks have started a trend that will spread to other businesses.