Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, has recently joined the board of directors for Starbucks. The coffee retailer has been going through some rough times recently with the US economy in the dumper, it seems more people are opting out on their $5 lattes. It’s interesting to see that Starbucks’ restructuring process requires the input of someone with social media expertise. The board additon may be the first ripple in a move towards an integrated social media strategy with the biggest social network in the world.
Facebook has its own struggles with revenue and Sandberg is currently instrumental in the quest for a solution. Her impressive track record with the Clinton administration and Google certainly suggests she’s capable. Given the growth of Facebook and the continued anticipation of a revenue model that will lead the company to Google-type financial fame, you would have to think Sandberg would have enough on her plate. Unless, of course, joining the board is part of a much bigger strategy to join forces with the coffee brand.
What if this apointment represents the start of a partnership between the two companies? The possible synergies between a social network and a social gathering place are endless. Starbucks are already in the online social media space with www.mystarbucksidea.com. Imagine how powerful that tool could potentially become for their brand if you were to add Facebook’s 175 million users to the network. If I were Facebook I’d be thinking about how I could leverage my user and knowledge base to help companies with their brand building processes. Sandberg probably has this all figured out.