Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM
Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.
At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...
media and politics
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 26, 2013 01:32 PM
What does a 28-year-old billionaire with the world’s largest social networking website do next to influence the world?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is taking a lead role in a Silicon Valley SuperPAC organized by his former college roommate, Joe Green. Reportedly, the group will focus on education and immigration reform, two pressing issues in Zuckerberg’s own backyard in order to maintain a steady stream of talent.
First reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Zuckerberg has committed as much as $20 million to the effort which will most likely be nonprofit.Continue reading...
brands with a cause
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 25, 2013 06:16 PM
Starbucks met with investors last Wednesday to filled them in on the farm its buying in Costa Rica—a company first—as well as the expansion of its three-year-old My Starbucks Rewards program, now allowing folks who buy SBUX products in grocery stores as well as in other Starbucks-owned brands such as Teavana to earn points that they can redeem over in Starbucks cafes. The hope is to double the loyalty program to nine million folks by the end of fiscal year 2013.
But the biggest moment of the meeting was likely when CEO Howard Schultz proved he was worthy of being made to look heroic in a comic book by responding forcefully to a shareholder that questioned the company’s support of Washington state’s same-sex referendum last year: “We want to embrace diversity,” he said. “The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity.” He went on to suggest that the shareholder was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. “This is not an economic decision,” he said. And then was applauded by other shareholders.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on March 24, 2013 01:02 PM
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils $12 million ad campaign (above) for Mayors Against Illegal Guns that lobbies for background checks to reduce gun violence, while NYC's municipal data geek squad makes headlines.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz defends same-sex marriage support to shareholders as brand expands loyalty rewards to other retailers.
PepsiCo shares jump on Mondelez merger speculation sparked by Telegraph story which Pepsi "downplays."
Apple acquires indoor GPS startup WiFiSLAM for mapping, patents iPhone drop protection technology and faces EU scrutiny following iPhone and iPad distribution complaints — and may report first quarterly dip since 2003.
FTC "pay for delay" generic drug case, set to go before US Supreme Court on Monday, will be closely watched by pharmaceutical industry and economists.
Below: BlackBerry, Blockbuster, Dell, Diageo and other brands in the news —Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 22, 2013 06:30 PM
Newcastle Gets Real
Newcastle has taken a new tack in its advertising and it’s all about turning old beer advertising on its head. Beer marketers love to throw “heritage” imagery at consumers to make beer drinkers feel like they are part of something bigger, so Newcastle decided to go back to its roots, the English town of Newcastle, where residents—known as Geordies—are filled with humor and realism. The result? Newcastle’s “No Bollocks” ad campaign.
“If you look at the Geordies, they’re very friendly, down-to-earth; they don’t take themselves too seriously, and tell it like it is. We figured that is a really interesting space for us to be in," says Newcastle Brown Ale Brand Director Charles van Es, according to Fast Company's FastCoCreate blog. "We wanted to use that wit and dry sense of humor as our brand voice. We want to be transparent about the fact that we’re marketing to you and the fact that our beer comes from England.”Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 8, 2013 02:43 PM
Occasional coffee drinkers and Starbucks junkies alike all visit the Seattle-based brewer's shops for the same reason, and it's not a caffeine kick. The java giant is just as recognized for its lifestyle brand as it is its beverages, and that may be just the thing missing from competitors' offerings.
Despite the fact that Starbucks recently took a second-place post against McDonald's in a social hospitality survey, the company continues to be the most relevant coffee shop brand around—and they don't even try that hard. Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 5, 2013 11:12 AM
One comic book hero (Spiderman) was inspired by creator Stan Lee watching a spider climb up a wall. Another (The Incredible Hulk) came about when Lee combined the story of Frankenstein with The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Now comes one that is based on a coffee-swilling businessman who has no superpowers but managed to create one of the world’s most well-known brands.
Howard Schultz: The Man Behind Starbucks chronicles the life and times of the brand’s CEO as he takes the company from a hippiefied java joint in Seattle's Pike Place Market to a global behemoth in just 32 pages—or the time it takes to consume a venti skim latte and a cinnamon swirl coffee cake.
"After reading (autobiography) Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz, I thought he would be a great subject for a comic book,” Darren G. Davis, the head of publisher Bluewater Productions told Ad Age. “I love telling stories of people who are inspirational like Schultz and have a great back-story."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 05:04 PM
The leaders of Whole Foods Market, Starbucks and The Container Store on Monday exhorted fellow retailers to increase transparency, stand on principle and to see themselves as part of a "wider circle of responsibility" to ensure their success.
Speaking sequentially to an audience of 27,000 at the National Retail Federation's BIG Show in New York, the CEOs offered a combined keynote address that advocated lifting up employees and valuing vendors as the major brands assume heightened global leadership in a time of government retrenching.
Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, said retailers should strive to create an environment of "conscious capitalism."
"Charity alone won’t do it," he said. "We need business and capitalism, purpose and profit.”
Tindell said focusing on the well-being of employees "pays off and reflects on customers. It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for. Customers and employees become your evangelical supporters. We want our vendors to think of us as their favorite customers, and this causes the universe to conspire to assist you.”
Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb agreed, saying that “business is making a wider wake in the world, not just doing the minimum, but part of a wider circle of responsibility.” The company's approximately 75,000 employees comprise a 40 percent ownership stake in the company, and 86 percent have health insurance.Continue reading...