9 min read
CYL - Mar 5, 2024

A Global Consumer Brand Facing Controversy: What Did They Miss Out?

Starbucks, a global coffeehouse chain renowned for its premium coffee offerings and iconic brand, is currently grappling with significant challenges in its market, with instances of emergent micro brands shaking things up while geo-political dynamics keep the coffee giant on its toes.


The Current State of Starbucks

Starbucks is presently navigating a challenging fiscal period, marked by a significant downturn in its share price, declining approximately 9% since mid-November. This decline reflects a substantial reduction of approximately $11 billion in its market capitalization, as reported by Vox.


With Digimind's social listening platform, we can keep tabs on micro shifts in how brands are being talked about online, helping brands gain insights about what consumer conversations are like on the ground. We picked out a recent controversy around Starbucks in the Philippines that could shed light on their current brand perception. 

Evolution of mentions of Starbucks mentions


The situation in the Philippines has no doubt raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly with a recent controversy involving a dispute surrounding their policy regarding Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Discounts.



Providing context, the renowned coffee chain Starbucks in the Philippines faced criticism following the viral circulation of a sign from one of its local establishments, outlining restrictions on discounts for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens. The sign specified that these discounts would only apply to 'one food item and one beverage per visit.'

It's worth noting that under the 'Expanded Senior Citizens Act' and the 'Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs,' beneficiaries in these categories are legally entitled to a 20% discount and exemption from value-added tax on certain goods and services.

Volume of Social Mentions about 'boycott' vs. Overall Brand Mentions 


Throughout this timeframe, Starbucks has encountered substantial backlash, with 20% of overall mentions prominently featuring "boycott," a development that aligns with the forecasted 2024 communication trends. 


These predictions indicate an increased susceptibility of brands to risks, particularly in the realms of culture wars and the pervasive phenomenon of "cancel culture." Starbucks finds itself entangled in this category, grappling with the challenges posed by these emerging communication dynamics.



How Did It Escalate?


Starbucks employed a reactive issue resolution approach in response to the significant backlash, a strategy that poses risks to the brand. Relying solely on reactive strategies can limit opportunities for strategic planning, as evidenced by Starbucks' handling of their apology, which was poorly received.



Conversation Trendline in the Philippines


Additionally, the delayed response, coming six days after the image first gained traction, further heightened customer dissatisfaction. This delayed and reactive approach could potentially have long-term consequences for the brand's reputation and customer trust.



Proactive Issue Resolution: A Potential Solution

Identifying negative sentiment early allows brands to address issues before they escalate. This could involve customer concerns, negative reviews, misinformation, or negative publicity. When conducting your analysis, consider focusing on sentiment related to a specific campaign rather than your overall brand. In such cases, sentiment analysis helps evaluate campaign impact by measuring audience reactions. If you detect negative sentiments, you have the power to be proactive! Adjust your campaign as needed to better align with your audience and achieve better outcomes.

Sentiment analysis, also referred to as "opinion mining," is a method employed in business to assess and categorize the emotional sentiment conveyed in textual content found in online media and social platforms. This process entails the analysis and classification of opinions expressed in a given piece of content, with the aim of identifying whether the sentiments are positive, negative, or neutral.

Tracking changing sentiments over the long term is another significant benefit of sentiment analysis. It enables you to monitor shifts in how audiences perceive your brand or how you’re discussed across media and social channels. This valuable insight can shape new campaigns and strategies. Additionally, early detection of potential issues as they emerge is crucial.



Steps to Improve Your Crisis Management

1. Selecting the right sentiment analysis tools is a pivotal step in optimizing your crisis management strategies. It is crucial to invest in tools that align with your brand's unique needs, considering both the quality and quantity of insights required.

Digimind's award-winning social listening platform stands out, offering extensive data coverage across 25+ global and regional social media channels. Moreover, it encompasses 850M+ online sources, including platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn, providing a wealth of insights. The platform also boasts a two-year archive of past data, ensuring a comprehensive historical perspective for robust social media sentiment analysis.

2. Define your objectives and key metrics. Whether focusing on overall brand sentiment or specific subjects like events, campaigns, social issues, or themes, it's essential to establish clear goals. Tracking peaks of negative sentiment activity related to these objectives through keywords, topics, or hashtags enhances your ability to spot and address potential crises promptly.


Sentiment from consumers during the Starbucks PWD controversy


3. Determine sentiment categories aligned with your brand's goals. Standard categories such as positive, negative, and neutral, along with potentially mixed sentiments, serve as a foundation. Customizing these categories to capture specific nuances relevant to your brand ensures a more nuanced and valuable sentiment analysis.



Do the Work

1. Data Collection: Begin by aggregating relevant data from various sources, encompassing social media platforms to gain a comprehensive understanding of your brand's online presence. Ensure that your sentiment analysis tool covers all platforms, including mentions, comments, reviews, and articles associated with your brand.


2. Conduct Sentiment Analysis: Utilize automated tools to efficiently process the extensive volume of collected data. In this process, leverage AI technology embedded in tools like our social listening platform for streamlined tasks such as smart tagging, mainstream and social media sentiment analysis, and visual listening. This automation distinguishes sentiments and categorizes them into relevant buckets.

3. Social Listening: Stay proactive with real-time sentiment analysis alerts social listening provides. These alerts serve as immediate notifications when there is a surge in negative sentiment around your brand. Further organize your data with customized dashboards and filters, allowing you to sort and filter categories (such as brand mentions, campaigns, etc.) based on geography, reach, engagement, and tone.



Keep It Going:

1. Generate Insights and Reports: Transform sentiment analysis results into actionable insights. Create reports that highlight key findings, trends, and areas for improvement. Leverage data visualization graphs, with our social listening platform offering 900+ options, to make complex data more accessible. Utilize pre-built or custom dashboards for tailored reports aligned with your specific needs.


2. Implement Actionable Strategies: Based on your analysis results and reports, take proactive steps to enhance your brand health. Identify actionable measures to capitalize on positive sentiments and address any identified negative sentiments. Implement strategies that align with the insights gained from your sentiment analysis.


3. Track Changing Sentiment Over the Long Term: Sustain momentum by monitoring evolving sentiment trends among stakeholders over an extended period. Opt for insights solutions that combine human analysis and technology to offer
more than just a snapshot of sentiments, providing a comprehensive and continuous understanding of sentiment shifts.



Next Steps

Our Insights and Consultancy services, powered by Digimind, deliver an in-depth and enduring perspective on crucial opinion leaders and influential stakeholder groups for brands. Through this service, our experts utilize social listening signals to comprehend the dynamic responses of various stakeholder groups to your messages over time. Analyzing this information, our specialists offer customized recommendations tailored to your objectives—enabling you to strategically allocate resources and fine-tune your communication strategy easily.


Functioning as an integral part of your team, we ensure your brand maintains visibility and resonance in the constantly evolving landscape of mainstream and social media.


Empowered by Digimind's insights and real-time sentiment analysis, you'll be well-equipped to proactively navigate potential PR crises and uphold a robust and positive brand reputation.


Written by CYL