RAB Insights

RAB Research Archive

It's About the Connection

On May 29, Starbucks closed over 8,000 company-owned stores for anti-bias training. This closing was prompted by a racial-bias incident which took place in April. Since that time we have all watched Starbucks working hard to protect its brand and maintain the strong connection they have with their consumers as a “third destination between home and work.” This connection is the very essence of their business model according to their website: “We make sure everything we do honors that connection – from our commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world, to the way we engage with our customers and communities to do business responsibly.” Using videos as the training platform, Starbucks employees (or “partners”) heard from Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz and board member Mellody Hobson. Also on the agenda was Common, a well-known hip-hop artist, actor and activist — underscoring the value that a respected personality/celebrity from the community brings. While the long-term outcome of this training and its impact on the brand is still unknown, there is a lot that we do know. Community – No matter where you go in the country, you can be certain that Starbucks will be within the area or community you are in. Engagement – When you place your order, you are greeted with a smile and are always asked your name. We know that feeling special is a very important aspect of engagement. Trust – You know that when you go to visit a location, you can trust that there will be consistency in the flavor of your favorite beverage. Radio has long understood the importance of, and lived by, these three tenets. Radio has always been a part of the local community. It is there to celebrate all the great events that take place within the communities that we live in. It has also been there to share information and news – delivering updates on some of the more devastating events, both natural and man-made, that have sadly hit so many of our states, cities and neighborhoods. Radio engages with listeners via tweets, posts, shout-outs, call-ins and more. As the original social medium, radio has always touched the lives of listeners. Ask any radio listener a question about their favorite radio station personality and the listener will almost certainly know personal details. They will know things like marital/dating status, angst of parenthood, products used and a myriad of other facts. When it comes to trust, radio station personalities earn it every day and work hard to keep it. People across the country tune in to radio and listen to their favorite radio station and the personalities on those stations – at home, at work and on the go. Listeners depend on them to get news, traffic and weather updates wherever they are. And speaking of news, radio is a trusted source for many – a unique trait given today’s environment. When those radio personalities speak of various products or services that they use, listeners know that those endorsements and mentions are authentic. Authenticity is a characteristic that radio DJs or personalities take seriously – it is part of their brand. They appreciate the value of the listeners’ trust and will do everything to honor that trust. How is all of this possible? It’s the connection. It’s all about the unique personal and emotional bond that exists between the listener, radio stations and the personalities on those stations. It’s a trusted source that has always been there to serve and engage with the community.

Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

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