Starbucks’ reputation has slid dramatically following business secretary Lord Mandelson’s widely reported clash with the coffee chain’s chief executive Howard Schultz.
The brand’s “Buzz”, as measured by YouGov’s BrandIndex, dropped from 1 on January 26 to -10 last Friday (February 20).
Lord Mandelson’s clash with Schultz erupted last week after the Starbucks boss said that the UK economy was in a “spiral” of decline. Lord Mandelson is reported to have said: “Why should I have that guy running down the country?”
The BrandIndex Buzz measures whether people have heard a positive or negative comment about a brand. Other factors that might be having an effect on Starbucks’ Buzz include the announcement that the brand is to start selling instant coffee in a bid to retain customers who are reining in discretionary spending in the face of the recession.
A Starbucks spokesman says: “The launch of Starbucks Via Ready Brew is part of a plan to meet customer demand by providing our customers with another opportunity to enjoy a high quality Starbucks coffee while gaining greater market share for Starbucks.”
The brand’s Buzz also fell sharply last October after the Sun revealed the chain was wasting water by leaving a tap running constantly in all its shops worldwide. The Buzz fell from 0 to -13 over a 10-day period.