Is Starbucks messing names on purpose?​



If you already been to Starbucks in your country or abroad, you undoubtedly faced the situation in which the baristas mess with your name. Sometimes you have to repeat it several times to make it clear and even with that you had the wrong name on your cups or an original spelling of your name.

But how can they get wrong so badly? In the end, do the baristas make it on purpose? It might not be an accident!

Actually, all these situations could, in fact, come from a very smart marketing and communication strategy from Starbucks.

Several employees of the brand reveal this strategy: they write the wrong name or a wrong spelling on your cup because it will get them a powerful free advertising on social media.

In fact, when people saw that there is a mistake on their cup, which is most of the time a fun one, they are going to share it to their community on social media by posting pictures for example on Instagram.

IMG_7684.PNG An example of what we can found on Instagram

Also when we get asked in class about what comes to our mind when we are thinking about Starbucks, tens of people says “wrong spellings”.



The brand takes the opportunity without paying for it. When people see the picture posted with the name misspellings, it is tugging on their subconscious to go out and buy Starbucks beverages in order to have their names also misspelt and take their picture. This a virtuous circle for the siren brand[1]. Marketers called it the “frothy cycle of control”[2].

The DailyMail related that an entertainment company called “Super Deluxe” made experimentation with the name Molly in 5 different Starbucks. 3 of them had the name misspelt and got Molli, Mali and Mommy[3]. This is just another proves.

When the magazine The Mirror contacted a spokesperson for Starbucks they answered: “We have never asked or directed any of our partners to misspell the names of our customers for any reason”[4]. Starbucks might not publically assume their strategies but employees are talking and sharing information as we can see in videos.

Finally, the analytics company Brandwatch, analysis the pictures posted by people in the US and UK between June and Mid-July 2017: around 50 tweets per day[5]including a misspelling name with the name and mention of Starbucks.  In overall, more than 2800 mentions on Twitter: 64% by women and 36% by men[5]. If they expand the analysis from March 2012, on Twitter, there were more than 75000 mentions[5]about that, which shows how much this strategy can be good for Starbucks: it is boosting the mentions on social media.  The forms of engagement are different: a photo containing the logo + a mention, a photo, a mention, a brand mention,…still according to Brandwatch.

To conclude, this strategy is truly an asset for them because people are not offending about the mistakes on their names, they shared their experiences and are willing to go again in the shops.

To know more watch this video about employees:  









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