Starbucks' social-media sentiment hit by tax backlash

Starbucks: hit by UK tax row (pic Walter Smith)
Starbucks: hit by UK tax row (pic Walter Smith)

The Starbucks tax controversy has resulted in the brand's consumer satisfaction score plunging, according to exclusive research commissioned by Marketing.

The in-depth study tracks consumer sentiment toward the US coffee chain over the past four months, across social-media and other sites.

Conducted by social-media agency Yomego, the research (see below) found that the popularity of the brand fell drastically from mid-October, when it emerged that Starbucks paid no corporation tax in the UK last year.

Satisfaction scores worsened further after Troy Alstead, the brand’s chief financial officer, appeared alongside representatives from Amazon and Google at a House of Commons Select Committee earlier this month.

‘Negative conversation has indeed increased, outweighing positive discussion,’ said Yomego chief executive Steve Richards. ‘Although Starbucks continues to attract followers on Facebook and Twitter, about 95% of comments contain references to the tax issue.’

The news comes as arch-rival Costa plots a response to Starbucks’ deteriorating brand reputation.

Since former Costa marketing director Jim Slater was promoted to managing director, it has shied away from ads attacking Starbucks. However, it is understood to be considering marketing activity that positions it as a business that ‘does the right thing’ in the UK.

Jeffrey Young, the managing director of specialist analyst Allegra Strategies, played down the effect of the tax issue, calling it a ‘storm in a coffee cup’.

Young added Starbucks was still a ‘massively strong’ brand, and argued that boycott calls were not being heeded by consumers.

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers