"This is not about marketing, it's not about PR. It's certainly not a branded series," Schultz said. "This is just sharing these kinds of stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and this is about citizenry. I think at a time in America we are witnessing such a dispirited level of divisiveness in terms of political situation — let's find the true American story."
The original content kicked off as 10 stories in written, video and podcast form produced by Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Schultz says it is just one of the ways to leverage the Starbucks experience to enhance the experience with customers.
"In many ways we are not a tech company, but we have invested heavily in tech. We are never going to be a media company, but we are going to invest in content. And this is all part of leveraging the experience in our stores," he said.
Schultz said he saw a robust response to "Upstanders," and thinks it is because people are "so hungry and longing for truth, authenticity, and aspiration and to be reminded of the true promise of America."
Schultz is optimistic about the future of the company, thanks to a strong core business, relationships with customers and looking for new ways to advance the brand. He says the company recognized early on that building long-term value for the company relied on investing in people and customers and taking care of its communities.
"I feel so strongly about the promise of America and the American dream," Schultz said. "And these 10 stories — which are people not being bystanders, but people being 'upstanders' — is emblematic of the true American story and the American people."