Starbucks Misses Huge Branding Opportunity as SpeedDate Steps In

Last month I received an email from a reader who informed me that he had received the standard SpeedDate acquisition letter which is sent out every time they acquire an existing application. It’s a strategy that the company has been using for a long time and so far it has been relatively successful. One of the most recent applications was the My Starbucks application which had close to 18,000 monthly active users that were huge fans of Starbucks.

It appeared as though the application was a legitimate Starbucks application given that it had branded design all over but our database shows the developer as someone other than Starbucks. Regardless of who developed the application, there was no doubt that Starbucks was aware of the application yet they failed to act. Why would Starbucks give up 18,000 fans to a dating application?

My guess is that they didn’t. They simply didn’t acquire the application from the developer and now a huge branding opportunity has been flushed down the drain. The application doesn’t appear to be any more active then before although there was a two day spike in daily active users after the acquisition took place (as illustrated below).

Note to brand managers: if some developer has built a large audience around your brand, you may want to pick up the phone and give that developer a call. While one model would suggest suing the developer for leveraging your brand, a much more proactive model would include payment for the development and management time. This would avoid having your highly popular branded application converted into a dating application.

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