As a brand, you know that you have achieved greatness when your brand is now identified with your industry product. It’s how most kitchen wipes are called Kleenex and searching for a term on the internet is called “Google.” One of the most iconic brands in the world is Starbucks and they did not just happen to become a great brand overnight. Starbucks has over the years invested a lot of effort and money in marketing and customer satisfaction in a bid to ensure that the Starbucks experience is constant anywhere in the world you find yourself looking for a cup of coffee.
While it is easy to look at what Starbucks has achieved as the result of having millions of dollars available for marketing, this does not mean that replicating Starbucks’ marketing strategy will cost as much or is impossible. This is because behind all the huge funds that the brand dedicates to marketing, there are basic marketing strategies and principles that helped to build the brand.
A Brief History of Starbucks
The company as we know it today started in 1971 with Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl and Gordon Bowker selling coffee beans. The logo of Starbucks contains the iconic mermaid of Norse mythology. The image has gone through a lot of changes before arriving at the iconic green logo that everyone has come to know for premium coffee today. The first Starbucks Coffeehouse did not open until 13 years after the company was formed. When Starbucks completed its first IPO, it rebranded to the custom logo that it now uses in all its marketing efforts today.
How does Starbucks Cater to its Target Market?
One of the most important principles that Starbucks keeps to is caring for their customers. Based on some research reports done in 2017, Starbucks caters to middle and upper-class men and women who have the financial capacity for Starbucks’ premium beverages and the offerings regularly. Starbucks has a mission to bring the best coffee in the world to their customers without compromising their principles during growth.
The founders of Starbucks thus had the focus from the very beginning to create a shop that would be the “Third Place” after the workplace and the home. This can be reflected in the new mission statement of Starbucks which is to “inspire and nurture the human spirit where they are, through every cup. As you can see, this can tell you that Starbucks has always had a focus to create a genuine relationship between customers, baristas and the company.
This is representative of exactly what Starbucks is known for, creating an amazing environment where people can have a great time and refill their cups. This personal connection is extremely important and one of the main reasons why a lot of people will pick the more expensive Starbucks coffee and atmosphere and experience over a cheaper coffee elsewhere. This is why people also prefer to go to a Starbucks coffeehouse even though they can make a cup at home.
The learning from this is that people will pay for an experience more than they would pay for a product. Being able to sit in the coffeehouse with your laptop and chat with friends while you work is a unique experience that a lot of people love Starbucks for around the world. By ensuring that the message and customer experience is not diluted, you can define your target audience and ensure they stay loyal to your brand for a very long time.
Exploring the Marketing Strategies of Starbucks
Starbucks is an international brand that offers the same appeal all around the world. A benefit of being such a global brand is that it would have a large marketing budget that allows it to hire the best marketing teams to ensure that it continues to maintain its global appeal. However, there are some marketing strategies that Starbucks has been using to ensure that it remains at the summit of the coffee market.
- Consistent Branding and Customer Experience
You know a Starbucks the moment you see it anywhere in the world, no matter the country or location because the company is consistent with everything they do as regards the brand. The classic siren logo is iconic and after going through different redesigns, it has remained constant in a way that when you see the green Siren, you just know it is a Starbucks cup. The latest branding in 2011 removed texts from the logo and left it with just the main graphic. This allows the brand to be placed anywhere and on any product, and still have the same appeal without looking out of place.
What this helps Starbucks with is that whether you are on an online blog in line with online food sale or social media reading a caption, watching the TV advert or seeing the Starbucks brand anywhere, you always feel the same way. The look and feel are always consistent, and you get everything that comes with the brand no matter which media you see it on.
As a business, you should always ensure that your brand provides a recognizable experience for all customers so that they can keep coming back to your business. This also makes it easier to make brand ambassadors that will do your products proud anywhere you go.
- Great Product
Why do you spend twice the amount of money on a Starbucks coffee rather than go to McDonald’s drive-through? That is because you are paying for one of the highest quality coffees in the market. The audience of Starbucks have come to appreciate the high quality of the product and the experiential value that it offers. That premium Starbucks coffee tastes better than most other franchises also helps as well as their promise to fix your drink if you don’t like it.
- Experiential Locations
Starbucks has deservedly earned their reputation as “the third place” because of the way they have created a wonderful environment around their locations all around the world. Starbucks everywhere from malls to airports to streets always look and feel the same way. People are relaxing, happy and working without worrying about anything. There’s plenty of food and drinks to go around and people can have their business or lunch meetings there. You can even hang out with your friends at a Starbucks and not feel like you’re away from home or intruding on others. The ambiance is something that other brands try to replicate but find it hard to do.
- Loyalty Program
Starbucks has an excellent Rewards program through which they incentivize customers to buy their products. These rewards include free in-store refills, free products, gift cards and cashback offers. Discounts and many other offers also ensure that customers feel like they are benefiting from the Starbucks ecosystem. You can do the same thing with your business by doing a referral program. You can easily manage a referral program of any kind using a software like Omnistar to ensure that you can grow your business. Increasing sales and traffic is easy when customers feel like they are getting rewards.
A lot of these promotions are also done via social media where Starbucks rewards customers for sharing their content online. The brand generally retweets and does giveaways regularly to reward their social media followers too.
- Social Media Use
Starbucks has succeeded in creating a culture on social media that any marketing team will be proud of. What Starbucks has done is to ensure that they create large social media channels that not only repurpose content uniformly across all channels but also interact with their customers. Starbuck creates plenty of content, but they break each one down into many smaller units that are then reused across different channels. Each social media platform has unique content according to its type of users. The language is distinct, friendly and simple. Twitter uses short form so even though the caption is shorter there, it still carries the same unique feel that you get.
Customers are also encouraged to take pictures with their Starbucks coffee cups and at coffee shops and share these on social media. The brand then retweets these and use them in campaigns. This encourages customers to share information about referrals, promos and other Starbucks-related activities. Their extensive social media usage helps them to create brand ambassadors in the everyday man and woman. Starbucks also does social media promotions and contests regularly where it rewards likes, shares and mentions. This social media strategy is part of how the general Starbucks appeal transcends just the storefront to social media. Also, Starbucks also ensures that customers with issues who report to the brand on social media also receive quick responses.
- Convenience: The Starbucks Mobile App
Starbucks makes it easy for you to walk into a store and pick up your order. Because a large part of the Starbucks demographic is people that are upwardly mobile and on the go, the mobile app is a great way to purchase products on the go with a mobile phone and pick them up in the store with little delay. The Starbucks app lets the company deliver all the benefits of a loyalty card, a referral program and a customer rewards program all into the same location. The more you use, the more discounts and free drinks that you can get at your favorite stores. The app also recommends products to customers by analyzing their purchasing habits and search history. It is worth noting that the convenience of using the Starbucks app has been so profound since it was introduced in 2011. More than 20% of all Starbucks purchases are actually now done through the app. The app is also available on all the major mobile OS platforms to ensure that it has maximum coverage. Starbucks used QR Codes to drive mobile app downloads.The process was simple-Create QR Code with Starbucks branding on it and paste them on traditional print and outdoor media to drive app download in one click. They had run the campaign in its locations all over the U.S. In addition to that, also used QR Codes on magazines to direct users to watch a video on Starbucks’ Caffe Verona blend.
Using an app for marketing is a great way to incorporate referral software to your marketing mix to make I easier
- Social Responsibility
Do you know that Starbucks is one of the most socially responsible companies in the world? Many times, they have used their brand to serve as social advocates at local and international levels. Starbuck is openly LGBT-friendly and has established its stores as safe havens for people of all sexuality. A lot of brands also try to toe this line but sometimes remain neutral on the truly divisive issues. Starbucks also regularly donates to humanitarian activities around the world such as the 2015 Syrian crisis, providing millions of dollars for refugees and migrants.
Starbucks also launched an initiative to recruit 10,000 military veterans into its workforce, a move that was applauded nationwide. In short, Starbucks is socially responsible and does its part to impact the country and the world at large.
Starbucks is a branding giant with a huge marketing budget, but they still do the simple things right. A company must ensure that its social media presence is representative of its goals, vision and products. By engaging customers via social media, promotions and referral programs, sales and revenue will definitely be improved. Be convenient, be available to your demographic through the most accessible means of communication that they have. By so doing, you are making your market, your brand ambassadors and advocates which results in free marketing pull that also makes running a referral program easier. While not every brand can be successful at social or political activism, it is possible to be socially responsible and have a great reputation at the same time. Marketing never stops and can be done through a mix of carefully selected strategies.
Starbucks has shown that it is possible to build a marketing brand from the ground up and still maintain a human face, excellent customer service and a fantastic brand. You too can do this for your business by taking advantage of technology to develop websites and apps that bring your product closer to your audience. Having a woocommerce affiliate plugin would also make it easier for your products to reach more audiences. Or you can also have an Affiliate Tracking Software.