Starbucks’ first foray into creating original content — a series of videos, podcasts and stories it calls “Upstanders”, highlighting ordinary Americans doing inspirational things — likely won’t be its last.

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Starbucks’ first foray into creating original content — a series of videos, podcasts and stories it calls “Upstanders”, highlighting ordinary Americans doing inspirational things — likely won’t be its last.

Certainly, the series is meant to be uplifting, providing examples of things people could do to better their communities. And it falls in line with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s ruminations about the role of corporations in public life.

“For the last couple of years, we’ve been asking: What is the role and responsibility of a public company?” Schultz said during a screening of “Upstanders” Monday night at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian.

That role, he believes, is not just to make money but also to “elevate discourse, provide a significant understanding that we, as a corporation, as private citizens, need to do more to advance the cause of social impact in our communities.”

But that’s not to say there isn’t also a bottom-line reason the company is getting into creating original content.

“For any consumer brand, especially a brick-and-mortar retailer like Starbucks, the rules of engagement, because of Amazon and mobile commerce, are really changing,” Schultz said.

Companies such as Starbucks now have to create “something really experiential” in the stores, he said — like the Roasteries that Starbucks has opened as a multi-sensory showcase for its higher-end beans and drinks.

But companies also have to enhance the emotional connection with consumers even outside the stores, and extend the relevancy of their brands, Schultz said.

“We’re never going to become a media company,” he said. “But we can extend the brand and the experience through media and original content.”

He envisions people viewing such content via the Starbucks app on their smartphones, an important business tool for the company. Currently, a quarter of all transactions are conducted through the company’s mobile app.

Others have recognized the reach of Starbucks’ mobile app, with the company getting approached to put movie trailers on it, for instance.

But Schultz said it was important to him to “leverage our scale for good and do something around original content — and not to do that in a commercial way.”

For instance, the Upstanders series of 10 mini-documentary films, each five to six minutes long, does not promote Starbucks products.

The series is written and produced by Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Starbucks executive producer and a former senior editor of The Washington Post. The series debuted last week and can be viewed online, through the Starbucks mobile app, and via the company’s in-store digital network.

The series showcases people such as a church pastor who reached out to local Muslims building an Islamic center nearby; a former NFL player who started a workout group for wounded veterans; and townspeople who banded together to raise money for college scholarships for every student in town.

Also featured in the series are two people who attended the showing at the Egyptian: Sue Rahr, director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission and former King County Sheriff, who’s working on changing the way police officers are trained; and Susan Burton, who spent years in prison and is now helping keep other female ex-convicts from returning to prison by providing them with a place to live.

At Monday’s screening, Burton’s daughter, who also attended, said it would soon be her birthday and that the film about her mother was “the best birthday present.” It had been a long road, she said, getting to where she could believe in her mother again.

Burton, in reply, said that she couldn’t get back years of going in and out of prison but that, through her work, she could help others get their sons and daughters back — and that through that work, “I got my daughter back.”