Starbucks – It’s Time to Brew Some Tweets

February 15th, 2013 | Ancita Satija | 19 Comments

Starbucks store front

Caffeine. There is no way I can start my day without a cup of coffee. (I’m sure most of you reading this post have an addiction to either coffee or tea.)

For all the coffee lovers in Delhi, Starbucks comes to India! I’m glad that at last I’ll get to drink the “Starbucks” coffee. The sinful coffee that I’ve heard so about from my friends and family, but haven’t had a chance to taste.

Image: bfishadow via Flickr, CC 3.0 

Considering how active we all are on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter,  when Starbucks opens its Delhi location, I’m sure I’ll be among the first customers to visit them, and of course check-in at Foursquare/Facebook and tweet about it too!

Will it be unrequited?

While I know I will definitely tweet about my experience at Starbucks, should I be expecting any response from them? Ideally, as a customer, I would love to engage with the brand through social media. However, recent stats show big brands do not bother to engage with their customers on social media.

According to an experiment conducted by Customer Service Investigator (CSI), well-known brands like Starbucks, Visa, Walmart, and Apple do not bother to respond to their customers on Twitter.

The experiment was conducted by sending 280 tweets over a span of 26 days to 14 of the biggest brands in the world. The brands were measured against two parameters:

  • The average time it took for brands to respond to the tweets; and
  • The response rate based on the total number of replies relative to total tweets sent.

It’s ironic that as more and more people are turning to Twitter to engage with each other, the value of engaging people digitally has still not been realized by some of the most popular brands across the world.

To quote some insights from a report by Ethinos Digital Marketing 2012:

  • There are 65 million, 33 million, and 17 million Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn users in India respective;
  • India has more Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn users than the UK;
  • 60% of Indians who are social media users are open to being approached by brands; and
  • 67% of Indians who are on the web use online reviews to help them make purchases.

Keeping the above statistics in mind, there is a need for brands to tap into online resources and engage consumers more through social media platforms such as Twitter. While there is a need to engage consumers through online platforms, it is equally important for brands to respond to the customers as well in real-time. As you can tell from the CSI experiment, the speed with which one responds is a major factor in the perception people have of the brand.

Global reach means global tweets

Considering that Starbucks is expanding its outlets across the globe and has now ventured into India, it will be interesting to see how well the company manages to engage with Indian consumers online.  It is also fascinating to see that the Starbucks India Facebook page already has more than 14,000 (and counting) likes, and their India-specific Twitter page has more than 800 (and counting) followers.

I’m sure Starbucks will create a huge stir when it enters Delhi  just as it did when it entered the Mumbai market. However, unlike the US, UK, and Australia, where Starbucks is synonymous with the word “coffee,” India is a completely different ball game.

You see, most of the Indian urban population is already used to the coffee culture at places like Café Coffee DayCafé Turtle, Costa Coffee, Barista and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to name just a few! And that’s not even mentioning the non-urban population that has imbibed traditional Indian coffee the old-fashioned way, such as Kerala coffee, or Mysore coffee, for generations.

I believe that after a period of excitement, there will be a lull, and Starbucks might become just another coffee shop in the country. Given the demographics of the Indian market, it won’t hurt if Starbucks tries to engage a bit more with Indian coffee lovers.

In fact, Starbucks should do what it does best; brew not only coffee, but a few tweets as well.

Do you think the key to success for any brand is to constantly engage with the customers through all possible platforms? Or do you feel a popular brand like Starbucks can do away with social media platforms like Twitter?  Is there a need for Starbucks to brew some Tweets? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Ancita Satija

Ancita Satija

Senior Account Executive at Six Degrees PR
Ancita Satija has a Masters degree in Public Relations & Corporate Communications from the Xavier Institute of Communications, one of India’s best school for communications & media studies. With a keen interest in social media, she blogs regularly at In My Humble Opinion...; other passions include singing (professionally trained for over a decade!), reading and traveling. Learn more about Ancita via her About.me page.
Ancita Satija
Ancita Satija
Ancita Satija

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18 comments
shonali
shonali

@iggypintado Thanks for sharing @ancitasatija guest #WUL post!

shonali
shonali

@barrettrossie Thanks, pal! All credit to @ancitasatija for that one. :)

ancitasatija
ancitasatija

@vensne Thanks for sharing the post Sneha!!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

Ancita, when my dad visited the US a few years ago, we took him to Starbucks at some point (naturally). Now, his face lights up when their name is mentioned, and I think part of it is because it is associated with memories of visiting us. 

But especially since I visited India so recently, I confess I feel a twinge - maybe more than a twinge - of trepidation at how consumerized India has become. I mean, with the amazing history and tradition of coffee, food, etc., does it really need Starbucks? On the other hand, why shouldn't resident Indians have that choice as well, right? So I understand your excitement but am also a little saddened by it... maybe I'm just growing old!

It will be very interesting to see how Starbucks handles the Indian market. Because you're right; there's nothing quite like it. Great post!

dr_gupta_atul
dr_gupta_atul

@SandraSays @shonali Went to Starbucks today in Delhi. More hype than substance. Poor ambiance. Chaotic and noisy. Wont go again.

dr_gupta_atul
dr_gupta_atul

@kamichat Went to Starbucks today in Delhi. More hype than substance. Poor ambiance. Chaotic and noisy. Wont go again.

patrickwagner
patrickwagner

I definitely agree with you, @ancitasatija  - Starbucks needs to continue brewing up quality tweets that connect and engage those new customer into a life long relationship with their brand.  I wonder if their approach with be similar to Google with local offices that lead the marketing & engagement efforts. It would make sense and would ensure greater success if they were able to brew up the right style, tone & type of tweets that would click with their customers.  They don't a great job in Canada and the US with their Starbucks cards and their marketing efforts that always include personalized message & their use of the latest technology.

shonali
shonali

@chattyprof @arkarthick @ginidietrich @kathikruse @brandflair @mmangen @bdorman264 @lisagerber @rachaelseda @erinmfeldman @kdillabough TY!

ancitasatija
ancitasatija

@shonali @iggypintado Thanks for sharing the post !! :) #WUL

Ancita
Ancita

@Shonali awee...I'm sure you felt that twinge when you were here. India has changed just so much in the past few years. You see all the international brands / food and coffee chains venturing in India and of course because of the tough competition and the need to have presence everywhere, Starbucks too chose to be here! But yea, with international brands coming in, there is always an excitement...and "no" you are not growing old ;) 

Ancita
Ancita

@dr_gupta_atul hmm...I hope Starbucks is listening !! 

Ancita
Ancita

@patrickwagner thanks for the comment Patrick...and it's interesting to know their marketing efforts in Canada & US. However, I totally agree with you that Starbucks need to brew up the right style and tone of tweets in order to keep their customers constantly engaged with them. Let's see how they are at it in the coming months here in India! 

ancitasatija
ancitasatija

@barrettrossie glad you liked the post :) and thank you so much for the follow !! @shonali

shonali
shonali

@barrettrossie Heh, you should! @ancitasatija is terrific.

ancitasatija
ancitasatija

@shonali @barrettrossie thanks guys! Cheers!

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