Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees and — to the vindication of the #boycottstarbucks crowd — their stock took a hit.
This is probably going to be good for Starbucks.
In May last year, around the time of the passage of North Carolina’s bathroom law, Taylor Pepper wrote in Time that
In recent years, Americans seem to have embraced the notion that the private sector has a role in shaping the political debate, according surveys by the public relations firm Global Strategy Group. In the most recent survey — the results of which were published in January — 78% of Americans said that “corporations should take action to address important issues facing society.” That’s up from 72% in 2013.
To be sure, Americans tend to think it’s more “appropriate” for companies to take stands on economic issues such as the minimum wage, pay equality, and parental leave. Still, a majority also think it is suitable for companies to weigh in on social and political issues ranging from LGBT equality to Obamacare to race relations.
This is not just a sign of the times but a trend carried by the momentum of aggregation theory, which describes how the user experience has become such a dominant force shaping the success of businesses.
And this makes sense.
We increasingly use products and services we identify with. We buy food that aligns with our ethics, we laud brands who align with our worldview, we put face to vast companies — Tim Cook and Apple, Marissa Mayer and Yahoo!, Richard Branson and Virgin, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook — and by so anthropomorphizing them the character of these individuals either shake our loyalty or increase our engagement.
Starbucks made a shrewd move. They took an ethical stance at a highly controversial and thus public time, that — regardless of your political beliefs — positions them in an inarguably favorable matchup.
— #HeWillNotDivideUs (@HWNDUS) January 30, 2017
Which leads me to this plea from Tim Spalding:
A plea to library-tech companies. Regular tech is speaking out—Twitter, FB, Google, even Amazon. With our values, shouldn't we be leading?
— Tim Spalding (@librarythingtim) January 31, 2017
This is actually an opportunity for vendors to generate goodwill among their customers. Goodwill for library vendors tends to be low. https://t.co/H4JUWz5mf6
— Michael Schofield (@schoeyfield) January 31, 2017
Libraries skew liberal and what-with the growing clamor around never-neutral / critical librarianship — read my thoughts about you might bake these kinds of ethical stances into your designs — for-profit library vendors have an opportunity to make a statement that resonates their existing — and potential — buyers.