When the coffee giant first approached BLITZ to undertake their Shared Planet initiative, we were Venti-sized ecstatic. They had a truly amazing story to tell about their years of environmental stewardship and commitment to the world’s coffee farmers; a story that been kept within the confines of their Seattle-based headquarters for nearly 37 years. More specifically, they kept this amazing story within the Consumer Social Responsibility (CSR) group. And they did little outreach to the massive Starbucks audience.
The first step was to get into heads of our Starbucks clients and determine what exactly it was they were doing for the environment, and also determine why consumers would actually care. Was their story really that great? We found that it was more than great. It was awesome. Our teams both agreed that we would use this online experience to be 100% transparent with Starbucks’ social responsibility goals—whether or not SBUX was even close to reaching them. We then realized that their story was too huge to tell in one piece, so a three-phase approach was decided upon: the first was to build awareness, the second was to elicit action, and the third, which launched on Earth Day 2009, was to showcase the bold progress and gold through interactive charts, maps and videos, and a simple “mug pledge” that users could take part in to help build awareness around commuter cups.
The end result was a successful strategy that helped build consumer awareness around the revered barista’s social and environmental efforts. Since the Shared Planet launch, it has gone on to become more than a CSR effort, but a stand-alone brand within Starbucks itself. To date, the Shared Planet initiative has initiated more than 114,000 hours of Starbucks V2V community service and more than 20,000 coffee-swilling fans have enlisted in the “mug pledge”.
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