Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2013 06:27 PM
"Pay It Forward," meet "Open It Back Up." Starbucks—which rarely misses a zeitgeist-related marketing ploy—is offering a free tall cup of coffee to any patron who buys a drink for another customer, in what CEO Howard Schultz somehow intends to translate into a moral example for those responsible for the federal government curtailment in Washington, D.C.
Schultz previously has tilted at budget-deficit gridlock in Washington and spoke out in support of gay marriage in various ways associated with the iconic brand. This time, he said, Starbucks aims to push citizens to "support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country." No word on why he believes that Americans haven't already been supporting and connecting with one another.
Anyway, such exhortations are just one way that Schultz has been moving Starbucks way beyond its original java base since he shored the chain up a few years ago.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 18, 2013 12:21 PM
"[T]oday we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores."
The underlining for effect was Starbucks', not ours. Following America's most recent tragic mass shooting—this time at Washington's Navy Yard—it appears Starbucks, long a perceived and publicized ally for the pro-gun Second Amendment movement, has finally taken a side.
Long before the most recent gun-related tragedies, including the Newtown school shootings and Aurora theater tragedy, Starbucks had unintentionally become a central figure in the pro-gun movement. As other chains moved to ban open-carry and concealed weapons from their outlets, Starbucks held fast in its position of abiding by state carry laws. While the company has seemingly ignored both the positive and negative attention it recieved for its stance, it has continued to be leveraged by activist groups, including a campaign dubbed "Skip Starbucks Saturday" that took place in August that was led by, in part, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Perhaps the anti-gun protests and propaganda have worked, as CEO Howard Schultz has laid out an exceptionally reasoned plea to gun owners to refrain from carrying firearms in Starbucks outlets.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 28, 2013 02:58 PM
It might be way too late for the move to garner Walmart much love among progressives, but the company told workers this week that it will begin offering health-insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners of US employees next year.
That marked a major change for the nation's largest employer of 1.3 million workers. Gay-rights advocacy groups had previously targeted Walmart for not having done so.
But in the end, the company said it made the change largely to ensure consistent treatment of its employees across the country, because Walmart already offered benefits to domestic partners of employees where state law required it. No doubt the US Supreme Court decision in June to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act also played a part in calculations by Walmart that the societal, cultural and corporate tide on this issue had turned.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 9, 2013 05:12 PM
Now that he can argue he's got the pelt of former P&G CEO Bob McDonald on his wall, activist investor Bill Ackman is circling back to another of his most recent favorite quarries: Myron Ullman of JCPenney. Ackman, the largest shareholder of the retail brand, is pressuring the board to replace Ullman as the battered department-store chain continues leak sales and consumers.
The irony, of course, is that Ackman is responsible for much of the mess that is JCPenney at the moment. He didn't like Ullman when he was CEO two years ago and pressed the board to bring in Apple-retailing guru Ron Johnson to replace him. Johnson then made a huge mess of the brand as he tried to overhaul it from top to bottom. He was shown the door back in April.
One of the biggest problems identified by Ackman, who owns 18 percent of JCPenney shares, is that Ullman hasn't been able to stop the bleeding in his return as CEO in an admittedly interim role. Suppliers to the company told the Wall Street Journal that sales fell another 10 percent in the three months through July and that cash is running low. This decline adds to the billions of dollars less in revenue, accompanied by the elimination of many jobs under Johnson as his reimagination of the chain and brand didn't work out.Continue reading...
sip on this
Posted by Dale Buss on June 3, 2013 07:06 PM
The recent Asian tour by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz highlighted an expansion initiative that may prove the company's most challenging ever: peddling coffee in lands dominated for centuries by drinking tea.
Still, Schultz gamely made stops in Japan and Thailand, where in addition to China and India and other places, Starbucks is bringing its unique brand of experiential drinking, sustainability and community involvement in the hopes of creating some of the same kind of brand magic that it has achieved in the United States and elsewhere. At the same time, it is pursuing LEED environmental certification for many of its stores there.
Actually, Starbucks already has nearly 1,000 stores in Japan, its first international market outside of North America. Schultz stopped by to celebrate the opening of the new Starbucks Meguro store in Tokyo, whose design and experience has been inspired by the traditional Japanese "Ichi-go ichi-e" service spirit (literal translation, according to Starbucks: one time, one meeting). The store features what the company called in a release "locally relevant, simple design solutions" including cues from traditional tea houses, parts of a green garden and local contemporary art.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on May 24, 2013 12:10 PM
Procter & Gamble's board is hoping that A.G. Lafley can pull a Steve Jobs and return to the helm of the CPG giant to make vast improvements, quickly.
Lafley is abruptly coming back to the CEO post from which he retired in 2010 after 33 years, this time to replace the soon-to-depart Bob McDonald, according to a P&G press release. Yet there will be enormous pressure on Lafley from the start to demonstrate that such a move—uncharacteristic of the conservative culture at P&G—was justified.
The changing of the guard, which will see McDonald formally exit on June 30 while Lafley returns as Chairman, President and CEO "effective immediately," surprised most P&G investors and employees, especially as the bombshell dropped before the Memorial Day holiday weekend in the U.S. But perhaps it became inevitable when McDonald, after improving the company's financial and market performance for a while last fiscal year, stumbled in late April by reporting weak sales growth, following on a tumultuous year for the company and its embattled leader.
During his four years at the top, P&G had lost a step to rivals such as Unilever in terms of market share and profitability. Despite the fact that McDonald had launched the popular Tide Pods product line, a $10-billion cost-cutting program and had managed to improve P&G's position a bit during the second half of 2012, he couldn't do enough, quickly enough.Continue reading...
Posted by Kristen Van Nest on April 17, 2013 12:20 PM
Last year, Starbucks declared its support of same-sex marriage, which resulted in a boycott by the National Organization for Marriage. The coffee chain hasn't backed down one bit, however, as CEO Howard Schultz continues to blur the line between business and the personal lives of his millions of customers.
At a recent annual shareholders meeting, Tom Strobhar, a shareholder and founder of the Corporate Morality Action Center, an anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage organization, suggested the boycott had a negative impact on first quarter sales and earnings. The ever-outspoken CEO swiftly responded, “Not every decision is an economic decision... The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity."
Schultz then told Strobhar he was more than welcome to sell his shares and take his money elsewhere. While the remarks seem brazen, Starbuck’s stance on hot-button political issues and support of equal rights for its employees have been a part of the brand’s long-term strategy to increase internal brand engagement and decrease turnover. What's more, taking a position on causes that affect its workforce has had a positive impact on its bottom line.Continue reading...
media and politics
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 26, 2013 01:32 PM
What does a 28-year-old billionaire with the world’s largest social networking website do next to influence the world?
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is taking a lead role in a Silicon Valley SuperPAC organized by his former college roommate, Joe Green. Reportedly, the group will focus on education and immigration reform, two pressing issues in Zuckerberg’s own backyard in order to maintain a steady stream of talent.
First reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Zuckerberg has committed as much as $20 million to the effort which will most likely be nonprofit.Continue reading...