Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) closed more than 8,000 stores today for a
few hours for racial bias training. As we reported, the training comes
more than a month after a Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) manager called police on
two black men who had been waiting in the store for a friend before buying
something. Analysts say the store closures could cost Starbucks
(NASDAQ:SBUX) $12 million in lost sales.
GRIFFETH: Now, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) chose to conduct this racial bias
training in a very public way, and as Sue just mentioned, at a financial
cost as well to the company. Other companies do similar training but they
do tend to not draw attention to it.
So, is this a good strategy, not just for Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) but for
other brands as well?
Joining us tonight, Dean Crutchfield. He`s a brand expert who runs his own
company, Dean Crutchfield Company.
Good to see you again. Welcome back.
DEAN CRUTCHFIELD, BRAND EXPERT: Good to see you guys.
GRIFFETH: Are there risks to this kind of public display of teaching your
employees racial bias?
CRUTCHFIELD: Well, it`s really a question of delivering it. You know,
purpose builds profits or at least that`s the strategy. So, really, it`s a
question of can you actually deliver it? That`s really what we`re
questioning with Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) today.
You know, they`re under pressure to show their leadership and their impact
on these very sensitive issues of gender and race, and it really is a
question of, you know, what they deliver once they actually do this. The
most important thing is they are saying they`re prepared to take a hit in
their business to actually do something right. So, in a sense, that shows
the goodwill of their intent.
HERERA: Does it match up with their pledge of social responsibility? It
seems as though it does.
CRUTCHFIELD: It really aligns very well, actually, with the core strategy
at Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). In fact, part of their vision statement wraps
around inspiring and nurturing the human spirit. So, I can`t think of two
better subjects than gender and race to actually answer that as a strategy
and show that it really delivers what it means.
So, it`s not so much your ability as a business, it`s more about the
choices you make that define who you are and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is
making a very deliberate choice here in terms of their strategy to, as it
were, train away implicit bias. And I think to your point, this has been
going on for decades. Many companies, police departments have all been
trying to train away implicit bias.
CRUTCHFIELD: And really the question is, does it work? I think that`s a
big question here.
GRIFFETH: And because it was so public, the closing of the stores and
everything, obviously, they`re trying to spur the national conversation in
Do you see other companies then maybe following their lead in this?
CRUTCHFIELD: Well, I think, you know, a leader has to lead. I think
that`s what Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is doing.
You know, there`s massive disruption happening in the market out there.
Customers want to know about the brand value. They want to know if those
values align with them. They want to know where you stand on race, and
gender, and environment. They want to know what your leadership is and
what your impact is on those issues.
It`s very different from what it was before. So, I think what we`re seeing
here is Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) leading the charge of something we`ll be
seeing more and more, which is about purpose-driven brands.
GRIFFETH: Dean, always good to see you. Thank you for your thoughts
CRUTCHFIELD: Thank you.