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22/04/2013 by

My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas

My Starbucks Idea exists 5 years and they have turned 275 of consumer generated ideas into reality. What can CMOs learn from open brand innovation at Starbucks?

My Starbucks Idea: 5 Years Of Inspiring Ideas

We discovered My Starbucks Idea back in 2008. And I decided to cover it as “amazing potential” here on ViralBlog. Why the love?

Ausdauer or Mechanism with Mileage?

Already in 2008 I had the gut feeling that this Starbucks program could be leading towards something special: An ongoing movement or a mechanism with mileage.

The Germans would call such a long term program “ausdauer“. Freely translated by me as; Staying power, endurance or persistence.

Where most brands tend to go for short term campaigns and being in control, Starbucks went for long term. Showing the marketing community it’s in control enough to let go.

In FMCG or CPG, we see lots of “new” flavours being introduced to push the market penetration up a tiny percentage.

Honestly, how often do we see TVCs about “new and improved” facial creams or even better shampoos? If that happens too often, consumers might think; “Hey, why not creating a better product right away?”

At C-level, we mostly brief agencies on campaigns. Long term programs are often being neglected, straight away.

Most large brands are very scared to release consumer generated ideation, or open brand innovation.

Like consumers do not rate their products or services on sites like Epinions or TripAdvisor anyway?!

True Social Media, Open Brand Innovation or Social CRM?

 <h3>True Social Media, Open Brand Innovation or Social CRM?</h3>

I am not sure how to “label” My Starbucks Idea. But, does the label truly matter?

I only know that the consumer generated and voted suggestions are shaping Starbucks in the best of ways.

A brand that listens to its customers, now that is true social media, right?

Or should I call it open brand innovation? Or social CRM? That decision is up to CMOs. Or you.

Science, analytics, observations and experience at C-level, are showing me that consumers are engaged with Starbucks.

And that consumers are smart, certainly in similar wisdom of crowd format.

Mostly the sum of consumer generated ideas is often smarter than the brand’s own R&D department.

My Opinion on My Starbucks Idea?

I liked the approach back in 2008 and 5 years later, I even like it better from a branding and marketing point of view.

Share. Vote. Discuss. See. They seem like 4 simple words, not a very big deal, right?

But any CMO knows and understands the possible impact of such a program. Most CMOs won’t even take the risk to be labelled radical.

I do have some quotes (from others) to express my appreciation for this Starbucks program:

“It takes an architect to vision and build cathedrals. Everything else is just bricks in a wall.”

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.”

Some brands can become part of our badge of belonging. Starbucks achieved that. When its going got tough, CEO Howard Schultz revealed his true DNA.

The My Idea program helped Starbucks over its tipping point from mindshare to heartshare.

Two thumbs up for this mechanism with mileage.

What About You?
How would you label My Starbucks Idea? How do you rate it? What other great examples can you share with our readers?

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About the Author
Igor Beuker was CMO at 3 listed companies, chairman at the IAB, jury member at Webby, AMMA and Esprix awards, founder of 3 digital agencies (sold to WPP) and global chief social officer at Mindshare. Now he is freejack consultant and still a sought after keynote speaker.


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