“Let us renew our obligation to extend the promise of the American Dream to all our people, and let us recommit to building a world free of unnecessary barriers and full of deeper understanding of those living with disabilities.” —President Obama on the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are milder, which means that spring is near. I am so happy because winter in Washington, DC wasn’t kind to us.
There’s a change of seasons going on with the Solutions Marketing Group as well. We are working on a website overhaul, re-brand and developing fresh content that add value and provides insights to effectively reach consumers with disabilities, their families and friends.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be able to announce the date of our ‘big reveal.’ Our new site will be vibrant and full of valuable information. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Here’s to a new season!
Carmen Daniels Jones
President and CEO, Solutions Marketing Group
Many employers have openings that aren’t being filled, and are interested in diversifying their workplaces. So how do they make the connection?
In this opinion piece, Rodger L. DeRose, president and CEO of the Kessler Foundation, explains why employers need to increase efforts to reach jobseekers with disabilities. Research continues to show that inclusive workplaces benefit from greater productivity and better retention. At Solutions Marketing Group, we can help your business reach a virtually untapped pool of talent, as well as help you to create a corporate culture that embraces diversity.
A video of a Deaf Florida woman has gone viral with more than 11M views on YouTube. In it, she arrives at the St. Augustine, Florida Starbucks drive-thru window. When the Barista notices she’s unable to audibly speak her order, she pops up on a screen at the drive-thru menu board and they have a two-way chat using sign language.
This is so cool and full inclusion at its very best.
The technology, the empowered employee, and the result of this video captured on cellphone has generated buzz, press and lots of good will for Starbucks. Let’s talk about what Starbucks did right to garner this positive impact:
- It’s authentic. While Starbucks didn’t develop a slick marketing campaign to a launch the video chat, the service enhancement is seen through the eyes of a customer, Rebecca King. This wasn’t forced or contrived and is grainy and honest. While the company hasn’t deployed the video technology yet nationally, it gave opened minds and shifted paradigm in in 45 seconds and within 10 days, millions have viewed the video on YouTube.
- Customer service is the underlying theme of the video. Customer service to consumers with disabilities is the most credible form of marketing. Exceptional service delivery, enhancements and recovery (when things go wrong) garner trust, leading to repeat business. In the video, an empowered employee is free to use all the tools at her disposal to provide a seamless experience for the customer.
- The universal application wins! The high tech video solution was tested in 2,200 stores over the past couple of year to determine if it provided a more personal experience for all customers. It certainly indicates appeal for those who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing who may sign or read lips. This isn’t anything that is ‘special’ but merely a high touch option that humanizes the customer experience for all.
- Starbucks wins. The press and goodwill created by the video has done more for the company than ad buys and media placement to launch the service. National news outlets featured it as a ‘feel good’ story and the video was shared more than 250,000 times from Ms. King’s Facebook page alone. The comments received by an inspired public allows created raving fans and strengthened the brand’s equity.
There is something even more remarkable that is going on beyond the “likes” and “shares”. Countless decisions are being made as a result of this simple and compelling video. Consumers are thinking of Starbucks as a company that uniquely understands the needs of consumers. Competitors are wondering what they can do to position themselves before Deaf consumers. Deaf consumers are most certainly sharing this video within their social networks and making sure that the next cup of premium coffee they buy comes from Starbucks. All of these connections, dots if you will, create opportunities. Opportunities for increased revenue for Starbucks. Opportunities for greater understanding, recognition and respect of the Deaf community.
At SMG, we believe in opportunity. We are in the business of helping businesses understand and connect with consumers with disabilities in ways that are both meaningful and profitable. Give us a call and we’ll help you connect the kind of difference.