I just read an article in last week’s Advertising Age called Starbucks Gets Web 2.0 Religion, but Can It Convert Nonbelievers? that describes some new social networking efforts at Starbucks. These include the launch of My Starbucks Idea, a site for posting ideas and Ideas in Action, a blog for tracking what Starbucks is doing with the ideas. This announcement comes on the heels of Starbucks’ highly publicized shut-down for staff retraining.
The article raises the question: Is this foray into social networking a good move for Starbucks?
My take: I have no idea. Why not? Because Starbucks’ blog and idea site are neither good nor bad moves on their own. If they are being viewed as part of a standalone “Web 2.0 strategy,” then they are likely bad ideas. If they are viewed as tactics for gaining deeper feedback from customers about their needs and wants, then they might be good ideas.
As I discussed about innovation in the post Don’t Mistake Innovation For Strategy and specificially about Web 2.0 in Web 2.0 (a.k.a. Web And Weberer), Web 2.0 is not a strategy (unless you are a vendor who delivers Web 2.0 capabilities and services). It represents a set of tactics that can be used (in some cases) to more deeply engage customers. So instead of thinking about a “Web 2.0 strategy,” Starbucks should be asking themselves how they can reinforce their brand and if some Web 2.0 tactics may help.
The bottom line: As a customer, I’d much prefer that Starbucks get better pastry than write a blog.