When I saw a hot coffee cup sleeve, marked with a bold design, I wondered what branding message it would carry. A closer look revealed that it simply said UPSTANDER.
A new word to our dictionaries, it didn’t bear any meaning for many of us less than two decades ago. When I was growing up, I don’t remember using the word bully with regards to myself or anyone else. I hope my child will be as unfamiliar with it as I was, but the chances of that are realistically slim. On the optimistic side, today I not only know what a bully is, I am professionally and personally familiar with all of the vocabulary that comes with this scenario: bully, victim, bystander and Upstander.
"Starbucks", Faye, https://www.flickr.com/photos/52448595@N04/
With marketing campaigns breaking the traditional boundaries to reach audiences, it has also created more opportunities for everyone and anyone who has a message. In addition to marketing platforms, a message can be amplified even more based on an endorsement. In this case, Starbucks is a megaphone for social good. They have decided to be a corporate Upstander for National Bullying Prevention Month and educate others about the critically important issue of bullying for our youth today. In NYC alone there are 593 stores within the 5 boroughs, and with an average of 500 customers per day that means that today 296,500 people will see the word Upstander today. With that kind of reach, Starbucks will help enlighten and empower more people in one month than the efforts of the global contingency of organizations and individuals who have dedicated their work to help change this situation. In some way, Starbucks and the strength of its own brand, is the epitome of an Upstander. It is standing up with every cup, and making us all wonder how we can do the same.
And, the best part, they’re not the only ones. While we celebrate Starbucks this month for bring attention to the importance of Upstanders in our communities, keep an eye out for other companies and organizations pulling similar Upstander-behavior. While they may not be focused on bullying, they are embarking more and more in adventures of creating shared value and social responsibility. Do you see it yet?