Starbucks: Misspelling names and missing opportunities

Starbucks: Misspelling names and missing opportunities

It’s a pretty ubiqitous joke among coffee lovers – tell the Starbucks barista the name “Sam” and one almost certainly receives a cup with “Snert” scribbled on it. In fact, there are multiple Facebook pages and Tumblrs dedicated to this phenomenon. The most famous – starbucksspelling.tumblr.com – has been around for over 2 years. So naturally the local news is just hearing about it!

Yesterday, New York City affiliate Fox 5 did a fluffy news piece on all of the above, but what caught our eye was Starbucks’ response when reached for a statement,

“One of the ways we get to know our customers is by learning their names so our employees can connect with them each time they visit the store. When we fail to meet our customers’ expectations, we always apologize and work to make it right.”

We think this is a missed opportunity on Starbucks’ part. Here we have what is likely a mix of very forgivable mistakes combined with good-natured baristas with a sense of humor (seriously, no one spells “Erin” as “Air-Inn” on purpose!). The Internet reaction is playful and good-humored. No one is mad about these misspellings. Indeed every man-on-the-street interviewee had a smile on their face. Starbucks had a chance here to, at the very least, release a statement with a clever twist and a knowing wink – our suggestion would be releasing an intentionally misspelled statement.

People like companies with a sense of humor about themselves and their innocent “mistakes.” They also like companies savvy enough to acknowledge organic Internet chatter surrounding their product. Starbucks shouldn’t be apologizing in a corporate manner – they should be embracing a natural quirk.

Click through to the news report.

Thanks,
Martnel & Printlers

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