Bryant Simon is a professor of American history and culture at Temple University and the author of “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks.” The views expressed here are his own.
Last week, the Harvard Business Review published a long interview with Howard Schultz. The Starbucks CEO talked about the coffee company’s many moves to win back customers and battle against the ill winds of the recession.
As evidence of Starbucks’ rebound, Schultz pointed to the biggest of the social networking sites out there. “We’re the number one brand on Facebook,” he boasted.
Starbucks, in fact, was the first brand to top the 10 million-fan mark. Just to put this in perspective, that’s more fans than the entire population of New York City (8.2 million) and all but seven states in the U.S. That’s more Facebook fans than its closest rival, Coca-Cola (8.3 million fans) and way more than other large global brands.
McDonald’s has 2.5 million fans. Target has 1.43 million, Abercrombie and Fitch 1.37 million, and the trendy teen clothier Forever 21 totals 1.27 million. Among high-end food and food-related brands, Ben and Jerry’s has 1.35 million Facebook fans with Whole Foods lagging behind with just 296,152 fans.