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Last week saw three of the strangest brand tie-ups for a while.
The first was that Nike Starbucks shoe, retailing at $100, the second, a strained Wayne Rooney cameo (see below) in an X-Men adventure (and some blue-faced mascots at a United game), the third, green and red Angry Birds burger buns at McDonald's.
This got me thinking - what are the best brand tie-ups of the past few years?
But as the largest coffee chain in the US is learning, loyalty programs can be a source of frustration and criticism when changes are made.
Let’s face it, it’s not too unusual to run into corporate communications that feel impersonal and distant from a customer’s point of view.
So, it's no coincidence that agencies use the word ‘humanising’ over and over again when providing advice on brand messaging.
Putting aside any possible scepticism towards the seemingly volatile concept, humanising customer interactions must be the ultimate mission of any modern brand, which should empower its brave employees to shake off any robotic feel customers may perceive in their interactions with the company.
Starbucks has just unveiled its latest weapon in the battle for market share in the UK’s highly competitive coffee shop scene.
The Reserve bar is intended to be a cut above the usual outlets that crowd London’s streets, with a strong emphasis on offering a superior and relaxed experience for coffee connoisseurs.
In June 2015 the ONS reported that average store prices in the UK fell by almost 3% YoY.
This was the 12th successive month of deflation in the retail sector.
Alongside deflation, quarterly measures of retail activity have been growing for four years.
Starbucks Order and Pay has launched in London, England.
It's essentially click and collect for a rapidly cooling beverage - a frightening prospect, I'm sure you'll agree.
Whilst we know the Starbucks app is good, a pioneer in mobile payment and loyalty, I thought I'd better expense a couple of coffees and try out this new Order and Pay feature. So, is it any good?
Last week, Starbucks and Spotify announced a partnership that will see the popular music streaming service integrated into Starbucks' 7,000 stores and its 10 million member strong loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards.
Criticism of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) role centres on its necessity in executive team and that it creates another organisational silo.
However, does Adam Brotman's success as CDO at Starbucks highlight that there is in fact a strong case for organisations to appoint consider appointing one?
Starbucks is at the center of a social media firestorm as a result of its Race Together campaign.
Here are five things brands can learn from Starbucks' experience.
Starbucks and Costa Coffee are currently the most popular food and drink brands on Facebook.
Starbucks is at the top of the league in the UK with 1.3m Facebook followers. Costa Coffee is close behind in second place with 1.2m.
They are also the only food and drink brands to have more than 1m followers.
Facebook is a tough platform for brands to succeed on, although it is still possible. Some Facebook pages reach 82% of their fans despite recent algorithm changes.
Starbucks and Costa Coffee are proof of this, with their incredibly high engagement figures.
It occurred to me that amongst the Econsultancy blog team we certainly have our favourite companies as far as digital ambition and execution are concerned.
So I'm simply going to round up some companies that have done good things on this front and see if our readers get annoyed by any omissions or, indeed, inclusions.
So, here are 18 digital trailblazers. A lot of them are involved solely in ecommerce but not all of them.
N.B. I've deliberately excluded agencies and what I think of as tech companies, though that distinction is a little difficult to make in some areas.