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It is not an accident that Starbucks is the leading consumer brand on Facebook. CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz explains that Starbucks gained prominence on Facebook by making a significant commitment to investing in social media. Executives at Starbucks have learned that they can’t push a product on a consumer. Rather, they must engage consumers in conversation so that the consumer can trust the source. Social media provides the ideal platform for this conversation. As a result, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become an integral part of business at Starbucks.

Questions:
1. What sort of costs do you think Starbucks incurred when CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz said Starbucks made a very significant investment in the people and the category of social media?
2. How do you think the costs discussed in Question #1 were accounted for and why? That is, were costs expensed or capitalized and what is the rationale for your answer?
3. The reporter says Twitter is fun and interesting, but that it’s difficult to monetize. What is meant by “monetizing” in this context? How is it important in terms of how Starbucks accounts for the costs associated with Twitter and Facebook?

(Retrievable online at: http://money.cnn.com/video/technology/2010/03/24/t_starbucks_social_media.cnnmoney/)

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