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Starbucks’ Brand Perception Plummets Since Announcing Plan to Hire Refugees

Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks. PHOTO: Stephen Brashear/Stringer/Getty

By Kate Taylor | 22 February 2017

YAHOO — Starbucks’ brand has taken a beating since the company announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years in response to Donald Trump’s executive order intended to prevent refugees from entering the US.

The coffee giant’s consumer perception levels have fallen by two-thirds since late January, according to YouGov BrandIndex.

The perception tracker measures if respondents have “heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative.” In Starbucks’ case, perception is still overall positive, but significantly lower than it was prior to CEO Howard Schultz published a public letter outlining the company’s plans to give refugees jobs.

“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question,” CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter to Starbucks employees about the plan.

The graphic below shows YouGov’s brand perception since October of last year. The red arrow points to when Starbucks announced its plan to hire 10,000 refugees.

starbucks perception
CHART: YouGov/Business Insider

YouGov says that there’s reason to believe backlash will impact the chain’s bottom line. Two days before Starbucks’ announcement, 30% of consumers said they’d consider buying from Starbucks the next time they were craving coffee, the highest proportion in nearly a year. Now, the percentage is down to 24%, according to YouGov. […]

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