Corporate Eye

Starbucks: how to communicate change

Starbucks provides us with a demonstration of a great way of communicating the significant changes under way (changes in their approach and in their senior management structure).

The home page has been replaced with a letter from Howard Schultz, addressed to all customers. At the bottom are links to copies of a letter and a voicemail from him to all Starbucks partners (employees), together with a link to a Questions and Answers page dealing with the changes, and to the Investor Relations pages, which shows the press release at the top of the list. If we click through to review the details of the Board of Directors, we can see that the changes have been reflected on this page, which is up to date. Even potential job applicants have been provided with a link to the letter/voicemail to partners and letter to customers in the careers section.

This means that the relevant stakeholders have all been notified of the change via a letter from the man at the top. And I think this is a good example of ‘wearing the brand’: in this case, according to the mission statement, treating employees with respect and dignity while ensuring that customers are enthusiastically satisfied with their service.

Starbucks - last January Starbucks - this January
Starbucks – Jan 07 Starbucks – Jan 08

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that using the site for this purpose is a cheap form of mass communication; but many companies wouldn’t mention the change on the home page, perhaps restricting the announcement to the press release – very few would give over the whole of the home page to the announcement.

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