I know, I am late to the party by about 23 days. But, as the snow falls outside my toasty apartment and I whimsically drift into my own rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, I stop and think about the Starbucks Red Cup Scandal that rocked the United States earlier this month.
At first, I was just consumed with rage at the thought that all this controversy was started over a simple red cup. As a former Barista of Starbucks, I was flabbergasted. There are wars in other countries and in our own backyards (homelessness, poverty, etc.) that I just could not believe what I was reading online.
Then it hit me. What if this was all just a ploy to get us all talking about Starbucks? There has been no drop in sales or customers that Starbucks has publicly reported. Just their name. Everywhere.
With some PR knowledge under my belt, I really started considering it. Everybody and their dog was talking about this so-called “scandal”. Even a presidential candidate was talking about it within his debates. What a brilliant, and cheap, way to get your name out there. Or, at least, MORE out there. (They are Starbucks after all). They just made plain red cups, sat back and watched the madness unfold. Genius.
Upon looking up this Christmas scandal, I stumbled upon an article in Entrepreneur Magazine that encourages businesses to look at what Starbucks did as a learning opportunity. It goes on to point out three lessons that can be learned to better your business. Even small business owners are looking at this as a moment for education.
Well Starbucks, I give a hats off to your public relations team. We will never know if this was done by accident or on purpose, but kudos for going out there and giving everyone something to talk about.
To get the full (and maybe somewhat biased) view on the “scandal” and how it may be much more than what it appears, go to: http://www.vox.com/2015/11/10/9707034/starbucks-red-cup-controversy
Cheers, and have a Merry Christmas!