Starbucks Debuts “Upstanders” Series to Inspire Change

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

In an effort to break down barriers and the cynicism fueling the country, Starbucks debuted “Upstanders,” its first original content podcast series that aims to inspire Americans to focus on what brings us together using kind acts of compassion and humility.  “Upstanders” features 10 stories about 10 people going above and beyond to help inspire positive change in their immediate communities.

The series is written and produced by Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman and CEO, and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, the executive producer. It serves as a timely response to the political unrest and tensions that are taking over the United States. By showing that top executives are involved within the community, Starbucks proves that it is conscious about its role and responsibility as a public company in promoting empathy and compassion.

A unique part of the content series is that there is no mention of Starbucks or the logo.

“We wanted it to be authentic and the stories needed to be about the people and not about our company and marketing Starbucks,” Howard Schultz told Fortune. The series demonstrates how a company’s messaging and communication can speak to the values that it stands for.

“Upstanders” is available online and through the Starbucks mobile app, which has been downloaded on over 20 million devices, according to Starbucks. From stories about Islamophobia to homelessness and incarceration, the content aims to change the ways in which conversations are had about controversial topics and inspire positive change.

Yara Ismail is a junior studying public relations and advertising at DePaul University in Chicago. She is a member of the PRSSA Industry News Subcommittee and the vice president of professional development for DePaul’s PRSSA Chapter. Follow her on twitter @YaraIsmail_ or on LinkedIn.


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