Coffee is an essential part of the morning for many people in America and all around the world. For some people, not having that morning cup of coffee can mean the difference between a productive day at the office, and a miserable day filled with sleepiness and aggravation. As Americans, when the topic of coffee is brought into a conversation, most people have a particular place or brand to which they are unfailingly loyal. Some of us choose Dunkin Donuts, others choose Starbucks, and many more choose their own favorite local coffeehouse. According to the capitalist principles that America was founded on, small coffee businesses should thrive and be able to compete with the corporate giants like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, but unfortunately, many local coffeehouses are being put out of business by the sometimes unethical policies and practices of Starbucks.
[...] Also, the average $ 1.20 per pound that Starbucks paid for that coffee was because it was fair trade coffee, which requires a minimum price, and according to the Starbucks Corporation, only of its coffee last year was fair trade certified (2007b). Putting this kind of information out in public had done damage to Starbucks' formerly flawless reputation. It seems as though Starbucks was suffering a bit of an organizational crisis. One of the best ways to combat an organizational crisis is to use image restoration techniques. [...]
[...] According to Andrea Perera of Oxfam America in her article entitled Starbucks Campaign: Anatomy of a Win, recognizing Ethiopia's intellectual property rights, Starbucks could give poor farmers a chance to earn a greater share of the profits” (2007). This statement points out the fact that the Ethiopian coffee farmers might not even earn a greater share of the profits. Starbucks never even takes into account the fact that the coffee farmers might never actually see any more money, just because they now have the rights and patents for their specialty coffee brands. [...]
[...] Because the Starbucks Corporation—more specifically, the personal relations people who work for Starbucks—knows what its target audience consists of, and what they want to hear, they are able to produce very powerful messages through the media, using strong rhetorical devices, that portray them as being the heroes of a global crisis. Another way that Starbucks is reshaping its image is through the use of specific advertisement campaigns. One advertisement in particular features a mintage of workers on a coffee plantation in Africa. [...]
[...] As it stands right now, coffee farmers are grossly underpaid and can barely afford to feed their families while the giant corporate coffee companies can sell the coffee for drastically higher prices without having to pay the actual laborers any more money. fiscal year 2004, Starbucks paid on average, $ 1.20 per pound for high-quality coffee beans” (Starbucks Corporation, 2007e). According to Rosemary Ekosso, author of Starbucks and Ethiopian Coffee: The Bitter Taste of Exploitation, Starbucks can charge up to $ 28.59 for a pound of this Ethiopian gourmet coffee because of its extremely high quality (2007). That is 2283% markup on what Starbucks originally paid for the same pound of coffee. [...]
[...] The Starbucks Corporation has finally reached an agreement with the Ethiopian government regarding the rights to their most popular specialty brands of coffee, and finally, the Ethiopian coffee growers and harvesters might have a better chance of actually receiving the compensation they deserve. This case is an excellent modern example of how effective crisis communication can be in today's society. Through great crisis management, the Starbucks Corporation has maintained its positive image. References Borchers, T. (2006). Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. [...]
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