Starbucks on first name terms

Starbucks hopes to personalise the service offered at its coffee shops by calling all customers by their first name.

From Wednesday, (14 March) instead of writing the name of the drink ordered on the side of cups, Starbucks baristas will now write the customer’s name.

All Starbucks staff will also wear name badges in a bid to give a more friendly face to the in-store experience.

A TV ad, launching on Tuesday (13 March) laments how impersonal things have become and outlines Starbucks’ desire to change that. Print ads will also run in national broadsheets and freesheets as part of what Starbucks claims is its biggest ever advertising investment. Starbucks has also launched an email marketing campaign to its My Rewards members that says the first name initiative is “part of our promise to make your coffee experience as perfect as it can be.”

The coffee chain will also give away free lattes on Wednesday morning until midday, to encourage customers to come in and introduce themselves by name.

The ad voiceover says: “Have you noticed how everything seems a little impersonal nowadays? We’ve all become user names, reference numbers and IP addresses. That’s why at Starbucks we’ve decided to do things differently. From now on we won’t refer to you as a latte or a mocha, but as your folks intended – by your name. It’s only a little thing. We’re Starbucks. Nice to meet you.”

It is available to preview now on Starbucks website.

Using customer’s names is a strategy currently employed by a number of smaller coffee and drinks chains and independents.

Ian Cranna, vice president of marketing and category for UK and Ireland: “Starbucks customers already expect the coffee to be the best, and they told us that the emotional connection they feel in every store is what sets us apart. This campaign highlights the culture in all our stores, and the strong desire customers have to feel like an individual when so much of the world feels impersonal. We already know our customers, but now it is time to put a name a face.”

The coffee chain recently relaunched its latte to include an extra espresso shot to appeal to UK tastes.

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