Starbucks has been a brand and business that, for years, has built its reputation as not only being the third refuge in our brand world, but as an inclusive, progressive, forward-thinking beacon of a brand. It embraces issues like accessible healthcare and education, competitive wages, inner-city development, and civic discourse as part of its ethos and overall purpose.

Last week, faced with one of the great public relations and brand disasters in recent times, CEO Kevin Johnson did what great leaders do. He accepted accountability for the incident, acknowledged that Starbucks must do better and apologized to all that were impacted by this incident but, in particular, to the two men who suffered this incredulous indignity.

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