Starbucks might not be every coffee lover’s dream come true but it sure is Instagrammable. This multinational American corporation offers around 80,000 combinations of drinks, making it the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. One picture on your story and you’re the cool kid with a great palette. The corporation, despite being worth $110 billion, still has to use marketing techniques to stay in business. However, their approach is a lot different from just mainstream advertisements.
You probably also know Starbucks is infamous for misspelling names of customers around the world. Barbara became Marba and Ann-Louise – well, see for yourself. People often tweet about this notoriety on social media. In 2017, around 50 tweets were sent out every day addressing these mistakes. There were roughly 2,800 mentions between 1st June and 18th July. While this doesn’t seem like much, it still is enough online engagement to increase their Return on Investment (ROI). This unsponsored mention of Starbucks on social media might, in turn, prompt other people to go buy a Starbucks drink so they don’t ‘miss out on the action’.
While responding to these claims, a Starbucks representative only said, “We never asked or directed any of our partners to misspell names of our customers for any reason. Writing names on cups is a fun tradition born out of the relationship and interaction between our employees and customers. Our [baristas] aim to do their best when it comes to spelling the names of our customers, though at times it can be tricky.” In an interview with Cosmopolitan, an anonymous Starbucks barista admitted to the truth. “When I asked my manager if she does, she admitted most Starbucks employees use it as a marketing tool. Most people aren’t going to post a photo to social media of a cup with their name spelled right,” she said.
While Starbucks won’t admit that this folly is a marketing technique, it’s hard to believe all baristas are just really that bad with their spellings. It might not be a traditional form of marketing, but it sure did bring in the big bucks.