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March 08, 2009

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Starbucks did respond to my blog post at Social Media Today:http://www.socialmediatoday.com/SMC/78962#2581

To ensure balanced views i wanted to post the reply and let them know I do appreciate the fast response.

Mr Brice,

Thank you for your thoughtful, if to me a bit one-sided, take on our social media efforts to date.

Two points about MyStarbucksIdea, which you call Idea Exchange.

First, the main benefit to our decision-making from MyStarbucksIdea is not necessarily from brilliant new ideas—coffee is a relatively simple business after all—but from prioritization. Analyzing the site carefully yields insights far beyond what jumps to the top of the heap on a given day. One small example of the type of action this can lead to: of course gluten-free products had been on the radar screen for a long time, but the response on MyStarbucksIdea has led directly to fast-tracking development of our first gluten-free products, which are coming soon. I think this direct link from input to action is why Forrester Research, in fact the very same researchers that developed the social technograph profile you reference, awarded MyStarbucksIdea a Groundswell Award late last year. One other note: we have the luxury of more than 150k community members, which I think helps us edge around the problem of who is participating to some degree, but it is a good point, you have to look carefully at the feedback from a UGC site.

Second, the other key benefit of the site is dialog. We get immediate feedback on every change and a vehicle to give complete and contextual information BACK to the community members most interested in a given issue or product. This alone makes the site worth it in my book.

I will definitely agree with you, however, that what happens in the stores is more important than what happens online. If we fail to build community in the stores, no amount of interweb magic can offset that.

Keep watching us and feel free to contact me directly if you’d like to discuss any of these issues further...

Matthew Guiste
Starbucks

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