Starbucks: a people’s company

There’s nothing better than starting a new day with a cup of Starbucks coffee and a passionate speech by James Olson, Vice President of Starbucks Coffee Company. It’s encouraging to see how Starbucks grew from a single store into a global multibillion company. Behind this successful story is the company’s core value of employee engagement.

In 2007, Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz first addressed the issue of “commoditization of Starbucks” in a memo to the key executives of the company. The company seemed lost its way in the highly commercialized modern society, and along with that is the loss in share value. To turn things around and to bring back the passion of Starbucks, the company decided to close all the chain stores in one day and bring about 10,000 store managers together to New Orleans to reinstate the company’s value and purpose. The leadership conference was a huge sensation. The partners are once again united as a team through community service.

Starbucks always keeps a balance between its profitability and social responsibility. When the whole country was in crisis in 2011, Starbucks was among the first companies trying to do something to help stimulate the economy. Starbucks initiated Let’s Create Jobs for USA—a fund raising campaign which encourages people to donate $5 to support small business in this country. By asking everyday citizens to help shift the country’s economy, Starbucks gives out the message that embedded in the company’s mission and value—everybody matters.

Howard Schultz’s charismatic leadership definitely contributed a lot to Starbuck’s success. Starbucks employees should be grateful that they have a leader with passion and persistence, and most importantly, values the importance of communication, both internally and externally. However, not every CEO is like Howard. Most of the time, we PR people assume the role to coordinate each part of the company. It’s important we follow the best practice of communication and make sure that every employee is aware of and adhere to the company’s value and mission.


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