Not too long ago Starbucks came up with a concept called "my Starbucks idea" . This was an opportunity for customers to publicly post their suggestions and desires where they would be heard and seen by those who could make them happen. Unfortunately the idea did not get a very good start, and in its first year very few ideas were posted.
More recently Starbucks joined facebook and twitter, officially becoming part of the social network and beginning to use it as a portal into the minds of their consumers. Starbucks now has official social networkers employed who's job is to update and keep track of the facebook, twitter, and other social networking accounts. Through these accounts Starbucks has been able to get the consumer desires and qualms with the product and methods of the company that they originally hoped for with "my Starbucks idea". Not only have they finally gained direct access to their buyers, they have finally had success with "my Starbucks idea" which now has constant posting and has actually been used to implement consumer driven change.
Starbucks' method of accessing their consumers is a direct linkage into the consumer buyer behavior described in Armstrong and Kotler's textbook. The company is now able to learn about the buying behaviors of their consumer market. The consumers are giving the company information about why they buy, what drives them to buy, and what would get them to buy more. Online social networking has given Starbucks the power to access those that drive their business and are allowing the consumer buyer behavior to determine the future of the company, as it probably should.
Allie Peha, Section G