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Create Jobs for USA — Starbucks

Edelman and Starbucks, Jan. 1, 2013

Summary: 2013 Silver Anvil Award Winner — Community Relations — Business Products

Charged with driving awareness and donations for Create Jobs for USA, Edelman activated a hyper-local storytelling plan, putting a face to the economic crisis and those benefitting from the initiative, and leveraging significant program milestones and coverage cycles to highlight Create Jobs for USA on the national stage. Among the results: more than $15 million raised in one year, leading to approximately $105 million in financing; more than 5,000 jobs created or retained; three like-minded businesses contributed funding and resources to Create Jobs for USA; and more than 3,600 media placements generating more than 1 billion media impressions of the program and loan recipients.

"Community Relations" includes programs that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity.

In September 2011, the U.S. economic situation was dire — the country’s credit rating had been downgraded, Congress was deadlocked over the debt-ceiling crisis, consumer confidence was low and unemployment was high. Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz announced he was discontinuing political contributions, while also making a commitment that Starbucks would accelerate hiring of U.S. employees, calling for other company leaders to do the same. Media and consumer reaction to these bold statements was overwhelming, and Starbucks had the opportunity to leverage this groundswell of support to make a positive impact on the jobs crisis. Its solution was to develop the Create Jobs for USA program, teaming up with a trusted nonprofit, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), to distribute funding to community lenders around the country so they could make loans to community businesses committed to creating and retaining jobs.

  • Transition momentum from Howard Schultz’s initial call for action into a solutions-based program activating partners and customers.
  • Demonstrate Starbucks' support for communities and its ability to leverage its scale — stores across the country, thousands of partners (employees) and millions of customers — to make significant impact.
  • Encourage other companies to get involved. Lead by example in sharing Starbucks' guiding principle — that the company’s values determine its value.

Through audience and conversation analysis, Starbucks identified several stakeholder audiences in the U.S. with which to engage and rally over the course of the campaign:

  • Partners (employees), frontlines engaging with customers and encouraging involvement.
  • Customers and concerned citizens, channeling ongoing frustrating with the jobs crisis into action through individual donations.
  • Like-minded companies, amplifying impact by committing large donations and activating their customer bases.
  • Policy leaders, Washington politicians and influencers developing job creation policies.

Desktop research demonstrated that unemployment rates were continuing to climb, and gridlock in Washington continued to worsen. Starbucks introduced Create Jobs for USA to immediately respond to this escalating crisis. The challenge was to build upon initial success of the program — more than $1 million raised in two weeks — and keep Create Jobs for USA relevant and top-of-mind for the full year campaign.

Edelman used Create Jobs for USA consumer research from Edelman Berland, as well as a media audit, which revealed that customers needed to feel connected to the program through meaningful donations, and media needed real-life examples and new angles to keep coverage of the economic crisis fresh.
To guarantee a successful campaign, Starbucks needed to:

Engage in and spark DIALOGUE on the jobs crisis, positioning Create Jobs for USA as one way to take action:

  • In stores, across online properties, in news coverage and through meaningful partnerships.
  • Use Starbucks' social channels, as well as OFN's social networks and other like-minded companies, to engage citizens in productive dialogue around the economy.

Lead by example and cultivate SUPPORT from other like-minded companies to amplify program successes:

  • Demonstrate commitment to program through regular updates, visibility in stores, and Howard Schultz’s overall platform.
  • Leverage Howard Schultz’s media and speaking opportunities to drive home the message that everyone can play a role in getting the economy moving again.

Create moments of personal CONNECTION:

  • Share the personal stories of those affected by the economic crisis, incorporate Create Jobs for USA into larger community efforts, highlight the impact we can all have, and ultimately, thank those who supported the program.
  • Incorporate Create Jobs for USA into Starbucks Spring Community Campaign, connecting a broad network of engaged NGOs, civic leaders and volunteers.
  • Thank the partners, customers and concerned citizens supporting the program with “Indivisible” wristband, and provide a steady pipeline of opportunities to stay involved while sharing real-time results.

A phased approach for introducing a pipeline of new products, sharing program milestones and highlighting stories of real-life recipients allowed Starbucks to maintain stakeholder engagement and establish dialogue and meaningful connections throughout the year-long campaign.

Program Launch (November 2011):

  • Spotlighted CEO Howard Schultz to impart the urgency of fixing the jobs crisis and announce creation of Create Jobs for USA with launch of “Indivisible” wristbands at Starbucks stores nationwide.
  • Letters from Howard to Washington policymakers, Starbucks partners and customers, interviews with prominent news outlets and key speaking opportunities drove widespread conversation around the economic situation and highlighted Create Jobs for USA as part of the solution.

Regular Momentum Announcements (November 2011; February, April, June, September, November 2012):

  • Momentum milestones were carefully spaced throughout the year to provide a steady drumbeat of conversation around Create Jobs for USA, maximizing awareness and ensuring a regular flow of donations.
  • Starbucks and Create Jobs for USA digital channels amplified news and drove continued conversation with partners, customers, supporting companies, lending institutions and other NGO networks.

Significant News — First Company Supporters, East Liverpool (April, June 2012):

  • To drive deep, contextual coverage of significant program milestones, top outlets were engaged to tell these stories.
  • Interviews with Reuters and CBS' "The Early Show" shared news that Banana Republic and Google Offers joined in support of Create Jobs for USA with unique opportunities for their customers to get involved.
  • New Indivisible merchandise launched in Starbucks stores, including Indivisible mug crafted in East Liverpool, Ohio, resulting in 12 new jobs there. The New York Times and NPR feature coverage resulted from visits to East Liverpool to see impact first-hand.

Spring Communicty Campaign (April 2012):

  • Create Jobs for USA incorporated into Starbucks holistic Spring Community Campaign with recipient neighborhoods included in Global Month of Service projects, and lenders receiving funding as part of Vote.Give.Grow.

Real-Life Stories (ongoing):

  • Working closely with OFN and lenders across the country, Edelman developed a repository of loan recipient stories, videos and pictures, and focused on pitching these compelling stories of program beneficiaries throughout the year.
  • Incorporated into momentum news and used in opportunistic storytelling to elevate story beyond just numbers.
  • Highlighted in Schultz’s interviews and speaking opportunities, posted in Starbucks stores, regularly updated on Create Jobs website and shared on social networks.

Transition Momentum to Create Jobs

  • Media Saturation: Generated more than 3,600 media placements and 1 billion media impressions over first year of campaign, including feature coverage in The New York Times, TIME, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, on NBC's "TODAY," CBS' "This Morning," CNN and NPR.
  • Visible Support: More than 800,000 “Indivisible” wristbands distributed to partners, customers and concerned citizens who supported the program.

Leverage Starbucks Scale for Real Impact:

  • Measurable Results: In one year, program raised more than $15 million, leading to approximately $105 million in financing for small businesses across the country, with an estimated 5,000 jobs created or retained.
  • Meaningful Conversation: Starbucks' social networks saw record engagement on Create Jobs for USA-related posts compared to Starbucks product campaigns.

Lead by Example:

  • Support from Like-Minded Companies: Banana Republic, Google Offers, Citi and MasterCard all joined with support, contributing more than $3.5 million together.
  • Businessperson of the Year: Howard Schultz was named Fortune Businessperson of the Year for 2011, in large part due to his call for action to fix the jobs crisis and introduction of the Create Jobs for USA program.

Two Edelman practice groups were engaged.

  • Edelman Berland: Ongoing survey and research needs; comprehensive coverage reporting.
  • Edelman Media Services: Built relationships with media targets; provided expertise on appealing to media in current political and economy-focused environment.
  • BlastRadius, BBDO and Take Part also contributed to the campaign through digital, advertising and video production.

Public Relations Society of America © 2013