It’s widely thought that consumers want their brands to be good, green, corporate citizens. However, global coffee chain Starbucks’ recently announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees hasn’t gone down well with a lot of its customers.
According to a YouGov survey out of the US, the coffee giant’s consumer perception levels have fallen by a massive two-thirds since the plans were announced in January.
YouGov consumer perception levels ask consumers if they’d “heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
Before Starbuck’s refugee announcement – reportedly in retaliation to Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance – 30 per cent of respondents said they’d buy a coffee from Starbucks’; however, that fell to 24 per cent after the initiative became public in January.
While many Starbucks’ customers were supportive of the chains actions to support refugees, others threatened to boycott it altogether.
“Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10000 refugees instead of Americans I will no longer spend any money at Starbucks,” one customer wrote on the company’s Facebook page. But it should be noted that much of the venom wasn’t anti-refugee, just a perception that the company wasn’t hiring locals or had abandoned veterans in the US, who it had traditionally offered work to.