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.


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


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
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer