The coffee was brewing as usual, and patrons were as caffeine-crazed as any other day, but something curious was happening behind the scenes at beloved and bemoaned coffee giant Starbucks on March 9, 2012.
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On that date, Adam Brotman, formerly senior vice president of Starbucks Digital Ventures, was named to an entirely new executive role, chief digital officer. With the creation of the CDO role, all of Starbuck’s digital projects — web, mobile, social media, digital marketing, Starbucks Card and loyalty, e-commerce, Wi-Fi, Starbucks Digital Network, and emerging in-store technologies — were packaged together and placed under Brotman’s care.
Not just another executive promotion, the move signaled something bigger and far more profound: Starbucks is turning into a tech company.
Today, baristas remain core to the in-store experience, but the company can use its arsenal of digital tools to build even more lasting relationships with customers. With 18,000 stores in 58 countries and an expanded portfolio of products, Starbucks is relying on digital to help spur even more growth.