As I alluded to in my Think Mobile 2010 summary post, a highlight of the event was hearing Adam Brotman introduce the Starbucks Digital Network – a collection of content that will debut this fall in the US.Built on partnerships
The initiative is built through a partnership with Yahoo! – but the real value to the user comes through partnerships that include:
Premium content for free
- Wall Street Journal
- New York Times
- Rodale (health publications)
Through co-sponsorship, the site is able to offer premium content – such as the Wall Street Journal online – for free. The partnership with iTunes will allow Starbucks to make music recommendations and give away free samples.
This is a win/win/win deal for everyone involved. The users get free content, the companies get exposure, and Starbucks plays the role of content curator – building trust and brand value.Becoming content curators
Starbucks feels their customers trust them as tastemakers, and want them to introduce new content. From their website:The Starbucks Digital Network is inspired by Starbucks passion for elevating the third place experience to create a unique coffeehouse environment, its heritage of recommending music, books, films and other culturally relevant works to its customers.
That sounds a little too much like a press release, but the opportunities for other lifestyle businesses are clear. Whether that's through creating a soundtrack like the Opposite House in Beijing or creating a community of artists like the Roger Smith Hotel in New York is doing.Optimized first for mobile devices
Over 50% of people accessing the Starbucks wifi network do so through a mobile phone or tablet device. From GigaOM:Brotman explained how the site will be built in HTML5, will respond to touch and swipes, and will be optimized first for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. This is a huge change from companies that traditionally optimize their web sites for Safari, Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer and expect users to view them on a PC or laptop.Local focus
Having a local neighborhood focus is a key digital trend. Starbucks is doing this several ways.Patch.com partnership
. AOL's Patch.com provides hyper-local news created by a local editor. It's sort of like neighborhood gossip rag meets community discussion forum.Foursquare partnership
. Integration with Foursquare will provide the ability to check in on the landing page – without needing their mobile app. (Great if you only have your laptop)MapMyRun & MapMyRide integration
. These two services are incredibly useful if you're a runner or cyclist in an unfamiliar city. Brotman said many fitness groups meet up at their local Starbucks before heading out, so this is a prime opportunity to serve this community.Why this is cool (and why it should matter to you)
Starbucks is at the leading edge of content-as-marketing innovation here. What if you followed this model to deliver premium information to your guests and customers?
Most establishments with a wireless internet network use some type of landing page for registration. The Starbucks Digital Network presents a whole new opportunity to engage with and serve your customers.
Who do you need to partner with to create and share content like this? www.hotelmarketingstrategies.com/starbucks-digital-network About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry.