Case Studies: Successful Companies during Global Crises

Goals

To identify mini-case studies of companies that were successful during past global crises and how they operated differently compared to others.

Early Findings

Starbucks

  • Business Today highlights Starbucks as a company that was able to pull out of the 2008 financial crisis by aligning its operations with customer demands through social media.
  • During this economic slowdown, the customers of Starbucks customers began to shift to cheaper options. By March 2008, the company's profit had fallen by 28% compared to the previous year and was forced to shut down 600 shops.
  • After returning as the CEO, Howard D. Schultz decided that the company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy (as a result of the focus on expansion) back to customers. His objective was to "reignite the emotional attachment with customers." Employees were encouraged to think freely and offer opinions.
  • In March 2008, "My Starbucks Idea" was rolled out for customers to give their opinions on products, services, layout, advertising, corporate social responsibility, in-store music, etc. More than 93,000 ideas were shared and the monthly page views had risen to 5.5 million. The company implemented over 100 customer ideas and was able to build its fan base and reignite brand trust.
  • Starbucks rebuilt its customer relationships after the 2007/08 crisis by showing that they cared for quality and consistency with an altruistic focus on community building and care for the environment. It refrained from pushing too many products, causes or offers to its followers.
  • Tweets such as 'keep calm and make coffee' was to keep in line with their strategy of maintaining a cool image and to build a community. The company linked its social media strategy with other channels such as mobile apps and used technology to come up with trend-setting ideas.

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