We know about the MyStarbucksIdea website, which Starbucks positions as a catch-all blog, customer feedback site, and social networking website. The reality is that website is an unfocused slush pile for customer generated ideas.
But how many of us know about Starbucks V2V? It’s a full-fledged social networking site to promote volunteerism with customers and Starbucks partners (employees). It’s under the radar at this point — participation solely by invitation — and has only been mentioned officially by the company as an update entry on MyStarbucksIdea.
Think Meetup meets LinkedIn and there you have Starbucks V2V (Volunteer 2 Volunteer). You can post a cause, an event, or an activity and have others join you. Easy enough to understand and simple enough to make happen.
Starbucks V2V has real promise. It’s clearly community-focused with a drive to making positive contributions to small corners around the world. By having profile pages for participants, it feels much more personal than does the way-too-sterile MyStarbucksIdea website.
If you dig a little deeper you’ll learn Starbucks V2V began in Brazil using technology developed by Comunitas. In a way, this is an International “best practice” that has been adopted by Starbucks North America. Cool.
My hope is Starbucks uses this full-fledged social networking site to endorse and develop a long-rumored “Starbucks Alumni” website. For years Starbucks has talked about setting up an Alumni network, but the job was always too daunting to begin. The technology clearly exists and the online usability is sufficient … which makes this Starbucks Alumni idea totally doable in 2008.
Why nurture relationships with ex-employees?
Well, many new hires at Starbucks were influenced by former Starbucks partners. Most ex-Starbucks employees had a positive time at the company and they’ve said good things to their friends about Starbucks. And for some of us, including me as a former Starbucks partner, we shared a common bond during our days at Starbucks. Reconnecting with former Starbucks colleagues on a company-endorsed website could potentially reignite the passions we all once had for Starbucks. That reignition of passion is something Starbucks could benefit from as it suffers through its “mid-life” crisis.