I’ve posted several times over the last 4+ years about Starbucks. I gave them some advice when they were struggling, acknowledged some backpedaling and recently advised them to offer up their locations as office space, since so many of us work out of them.
I also have noticed something recently. Their brand is seemingly 100% connected with mobile influencers. When I’m at Starbucks, most people have smarpthones and usually there are approximately 5-10% checked-in on Foursquare. (This is a fairly high rate compared to the 2% that are estimated to use location based services.)
I think it would be interesting for Starbucks to partner with mobile start-ups to test out potential strategic partnerships. I also think it would amazing for Starbucks to simply recommend mobile apps/sites that they like, that are on brand. Think of it as a social recommendation from a friend you trust. They could place signage inside the store and/or provide an alert on their landing page, when you’re accessing their WiFi. (Right next to the offer to check-in on Foursquare.)
They would be piggy-backing on existing behavior and further virtualizing their brand. Of course you probably already know this, but Starbucks is a mobile brand. Their site is mobile optimized, they have a mobile app that allows you to pay with your mobile phone, the created a mobile augmented reality experience this past holiday season (video below) and they were one of the first to work with Brightkite, back in the day. They get it and so do their customers.
I’d be one of the first to sign up with Starbucks’ Labs! I’d suggest the tagline: Get wired and then GET WIRED!