It was a first day on the job like no other.
On Oct. 2, Rosalind Brewer began her job as group vice president and chief operating officer at Starbucks — with some support from an unexpected place.
A robust, grass-roots social media campaign had begun to champion Brewer as the first African-American and first woman to hold the position at the company.
The unsolicited campaign — the brainchild of North Carolina-based marketer/social media expert Adeea Rogers — encouraged people, women in particular, to order coffee Starbucks on that day. The specific instructions were: order coffee with the name Roz or Rosalind, take a selfie holding the Starbucks coffee cup with Roz or Rosalind written on it, and post on social media.
The customer selfies were posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Rogers, also known as the “Trendy Socialite” (@trendysocialite), targeted her campaign to key connectors for the new Starbucks exec.
Brewer is a 1984 Spelman College alumna, current chair of the Spelman board of trustees and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA). Those were the two primary audiences for the campaign that came with the prerequisite hashtags offered by Rogers.
Those hashtags were: #RosalindBrewer, #Starbucks, #blackwomanmagic, and #blackwomenrock. On Instagram, the campaign yielded over 1,700 posts.
Rogers is not a Spelman College graduate nor an AKA member. So what was her motivation for this campaign?
“Rosalind Brewer has worked for two of my favorite companies, Sam’s Club and now Starbucks,” Rogers said. “Black women in corporate leadership have always been a personal interest and passion. It is important for me and those coming behind Mrs. Brewer and myself to see women who look like them succeeding in roles and industries typically filled with people that don’t look like us.”
Rogers said that when she saw Brewer’s start date, she knew there was enough time to mobilize and create something in which people could participate.
Rogers has a track record in creating buzz for topics about which she is passionate. She is the creator of “International Natural Hair Meetup Day,” an annual one-day event held more than 40 cities around the world. The event was built entirely through social media and word of mouth, including recruiting event hosts to securing sponsors and an Instagram campaign promoted using the handle @inhmd.
Rogers is also the co-founder of Black Biz Scope (@blackbizscope on Instagram), a community-based initiative where Black-owned businesses are featured every Friday on the Periscope social media platform.
For the Starbucks campaign, she used her expertise in creating virtual communities to launch the initiative.
“I know businesses look at dollars and cents,” she said. “I wanted to show Starbucks how the African-American community, especially women, support business with our presence and our dollars. In order for people to participate, I wanted to make it simple and easy for people to get on board.”
Rogers has not heard from Brewer or Starbucks about her guerrilla campaign, but she is fine with that.
“My only expectation was a desire and wish for Mrs. Brewer to see an entire community of women showing our pride and support for her,” she said. “I grew up around women who celebrated each other. It is important to me to keep that kind of sense of community going.”