Approximately 4 weeks ago, Starbucks introduced what some saw as a ridiculous marketing idea. The purchaser’s name would now be asked and appear on their beverage of choice.
The rationale behind this is clear. It makes the Starbuck’s experience more personal and by approaching the more emotional side of people this should make the experience more enjoyable. Everyone wins…
However it allows Starbucks to have one of your most valuable possessions, your name.
Yes, they are not recording it on a huge database, merely on a cup of coffee but if you are willing to give your name up to a global powerhouse, to me, that seems like a pretty big deal.
This idea has been in place in America for a number of years where the staff are friendly and greeters are common-place in all high-street retailers, from coffee to clothes. There may be a few websites setup that show what happens when names have been misspelt on takeaway drinks but I imagine for the most part it has been rather successful.
I spoke to a Starbucks employee that works in Nottingham who said that only 2 people have actually been willing to give their name to him. Furthermore I have been to two different Starbuck’s in London since the scheme’s introduction (I am a Pret man) and neither time have I been asked my name and thus have not had it recorded on my drink. The 1st time I experienced this was actually on the day of the introduction of the Starbuck’s name-on-a-cup scheme.
There are a few problems with this scheme. As soon as the name isn't asked or written down we feel like we have been short-changed or want to have a moan.
If we are asked our name we want to know of the ulterior motives that Starbucks has for asking our name and become suspicious of them as a company.
As one blogger writes, “This reeks of a company whose higher-ups are so far above the coalface that they have no idea what they’re asking.”
Another is that behaviour clearly differs cross-culturally and this has not been taken into account. Just because a marketing idea has worked in one country does not mean that success is inevitable in another.
Global brand powerhouses need to consider their brand to be made up of tiny brands (countries if you will). In advertising, a one-size fits all policy doesn't usually lead to the best ideas, probably.
I believe what most UK people want is simple. The drink they ordered, nothing more, nothing less but even with naming, I bet this cannot be guaranteed.