Yesterday, social media people from around the Danish kingdom gathered in our capital to get a taste of how the big guys from the land that gave us facebook and twitter brew their social media coffee. For two solid hours Matthew Guiste, Director of Global Social Media, Starbucks (US), showed us how you go from dating to having an actual relationship with your customers. With “My Starbucks Idea”, (http://mystarbucksidea.force.com/), the company has taken user engagement to a new level and proven that asking your customers can lead to great product innovation, proud employees and most importantly devoted customers.

This particular case is only one of several great initiatives from the coffeemaker who also had brand lovers from 156 countries singing all time Beatles favorite “All You Need Is Love” simultaneously online – check out the noticeably weird Danish contribution 2 min. into the video, which apparently the most views of all the countries:

However, the big question yesterday was obviously how they’d managed to actually do this. Why do these initiatives become a success? How do you attract and keep 13.928.404 users on your facebook page? What is that secret recipe to actually making social media a brand success? We have books, blogs and newsletters full of pointers and checklists but everybody knows that it’s not enough. What I got from the seminar yesterday was this: A great idea is a good start, almost vital, however the real reason that Starbuck is a success on these platforms is because the entire organization wants this and that this desire to succeed is reflected in the resources allocated to every project. One example is the 40 employees from across the organization that spends 2 hours each week answering suggestions from users on “My Starbucks ideas”. Even more impressing, if it’s decided that an idea is good enough to carry out, the organization is actually able to get things rolling.

Most Danish marketers would immediately dismiss integrating a similar concept, due to lack of resources, i.e. money. This is a shame for two reasons: firstly, the monetary benefit of having loyal and active users is never really discussed or compared to the amount of money spent on paid online advertising. Secondly, companies often fail to accept that “resources” is also about getting management and employees involved and engaged, so that the voice of the company on either facebook or other platforms really is the lady in the counter or that guy in production, which makes the job very hard for marketing to carry out all on their own. So summing up, social media is mainly about two things: getting a great idea and  all round internal commitment!

/Katrine

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