Mandelson row damages Starbucks BrandIndex Buzz

Starbucks reputation has slid dramatically following business secretary Lord Mandelsons widely reported clash with the coffee chains chief executive Howard Schultz.

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.

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here

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