November 29, 2022
January 23, 2023
Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brandsin the world. Their brand recognition has reached epic heights thanks to the strength of their marketing and their commitment to keeping their brand consistent.
Not all of us have multi-million dollar marketing budgets, which makes replicating Starbucks’ marketing tactics at the same level nearly impossible.
However, there are some basic core principles behind the Starbucks marketing strategy that nearly any brand can borrow and implement.
In this post, we’ll cover how their commitment to consistent branding made Starbucks the successful brand it is today. We’ll also go over the tactics they are currently using that are continuing their tradition. Plus, we’ll cover actionable takeaways you can use to implement those marketing strategies and basic branding principles yourself.
Download Your Marketing Strategy Template Bundle
Once you’ve read how Starbucks has mastered the art ofbranding and marketing strategy, use these templates to get organized, document your strategy, and build brand consistency into everything you do.
In this bundle, you’ll receive:
- A marketing strategy template to format all your ideas into a workable outline for you and your team to follow.
- A marketing calendartemplate to organize all your projects.
- A brand style guide template to help your marketing team maintain branding consistency.
Each of these templates will help you get your marketing team organized and outline the expectationsthat need to be met to keep everything consistent.
The History Of Starbucks
Starbucks was founded in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. At first, the coffee company only sold coffee beans and didn’t offer the premium coffee drinks it’s known for now.
In 1986, the original owners sold Starbucks to former manager Howard Schultz, who took the brand and helped build it into the coffee behemoth it is today.
Here is a brief overview of the growth the company has experienced in the last 47 years:
The Mission Of Starbucks
Starbucks has changed from the bean roaster of the 1970’s to the coffee inspired drink shop of today.
The original vision of Starbucks is reflected in their initial mission statement which was:
“Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
After Howard Schultz bought the company from its founding members in 1987 the company has focused on creating Starbucks to be the “Third Place.”The idea of the third place is one that exists between work and home.
It was the idea of the third place that created the new mission statement for Starbuckswhich is:
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks focuses on creating that personal connection between their customers, their baristas and their organization.
Key Takeaway: Your mission statement is the driving force behind everything that you do for your customers, it’s the promise you want to fulfill for them. Use your mission statement to inspire the message you want to send your customers. Tell them exactly what you’re going to give them.
How Starbucks Caters To Its Target Audience
As you can see from their mission statement, Starbucks is all about connecting with their customers.
But who are their customers?
According to a research report done in April 2017, the target audience for Starbucks is men and women in the middle to upper classes who can afford Starbucks higher priced beverages regularly.
So how do they convince people to fork over that kind of cash, when theycould just have coffee at home?
They offer their target audience an experience when they come into their stores.
By focusing on the third place and giving their customers a place to be and interact, they make the price of the drink worth it in the eyes of their customers.
Key Takeaway: Target a specific audience. Even if your business-to-consumer company could sell to anyone, you dilute your message and experience when you don’t target specifically and hold fast. Define your target audience and deliver an experience they want, every time.
The Consistency Of Starbucks’ Branding & Experience
As an internationally recognized brand, Starbucks needs to be consistent with their branding at all times. This spans every message they send, every piece of branded collateral they create, and every aspect of their in-store design and experience.
The Classic Siren Logo
Let’s start with their logo and branding design.
Over the course of 47 years, the Starbucks logo alone has gone through four different redesigns to create the iconic symbol that graces your coffee cup today.
According to Work Design Group, when Starbucks decided to revamp their branding in 2011, they faced a specific challenge.
By operating in 55 different countries, they needed a brand design that would appeal to a broad audience base. Thus the latest logo was born.
Later on, the words Starbucks and Coffee were cut from the cup so the brand could potentially expand beyond coffee products.
Unbeatable Branding Consistency
Thatclean, modern design philosophy extends to everything they create.
From the atmosphere in their stores, to their digital content, to their advertising, everything looks, sounds, and feels like Starbucks.
Even the cups and tumblers you can buy in the store have a clean, modern design to them.
The result? The experience you have with Starbucks always feels consistent, whether you’re reading a social post, waiting in line, watching a TV ad, or interacting with their brand in any way, anywhere.
I can walk into my local Starbucks and another one an hour away and have the same experience. I know that their sizing will still be referred in the same Italian name sizes (Tall, Grande, Venti etc.),and the coffee I order in one store will taste the same as the other.
Key Takeaway: Keeping a consistent brand experiencefor your customers is key to bringing them back to your organization and creating brand advocatesout of your customers.
Technology & A Shift In Brand Identity
Starbucks has been a distinguished mobile pioneer for years.
After identifying the smartphone revolution early on, the company launched its first mobile app in 2009. Then, in 2011, rolled out its beloved in-app payment feature. But by 2014, the game changed: Starbucks created mobile order ahead, prepay, and pickup.
No queue, no wait time; people adored the effortless convenience.
However, while transactions increased, the“third place,”the very notion behind Starbucks’ existence, began to slip.
In 2019 alone, to-goorders represented 80 percentof transactions, while mobile orders contributed 31 percentof total orders.Cold beverages, inherently more portable than hot, were outselling hot drinks.
Clusters of coffee drinkers in conversation were no more. The communal nature of cafés was crumbling, and with it, Starbucks’ brand identity.
Leading into 2020, company executives hinted at plans to “reinvent” or “reimagine” the“third place” concept. Starbucks was in an identity crisis, wanting to change but unsure of what new path to pursue.
Turning to its mobile app, Starbucks hoped to use digital technology to augment the feeling of connection. The key to any effective customer experience? Personalization.
The app began collecting data about individual customer preferences and purchasing behaviors to craft unique discount offers later. Additionally, when a customer picks up a mobile order, the app highlights the music playing in the store.
These seemingly small personalized touches make for aholistic brand interaction that bridges the online and physical experience.
While Starbucks continues reevaluating its brand identity, itis redefining its third space to a digital realm.
What Does Starbucks’ Marketing Mix Look Like?
Starbucks does well incorporating the four P’s throughout their marketing mix. Let’s dive in a bit to see how they’re doing it.
Starbucks’ product has to be high quality to get their target audience to justify buying it. You’re paying for premium coffee which means it needs to taste better than the same iced macchiato that you could get at a McDonald’s drive-through for less.
It’s being able to craft a high-quality product every time that keeps people coming back. Not to mention their barista promise, that if you don’t like your drink, they’ll fix it.
Starbucks sells their coffee at a premium price, or at least 25% higher than value brands. In 1990, only three percent of the coffee sold in the United States was sold at premium prices. By 2000, that number rose to 40% in what the Harvard Business Review calls, “The Starbucks Effect.”
By offering customers exceptional drinks and food, Starbucks can charge more for them. Why? Because people are willing to pay for it.
Starbucks uses a large variety of channelsto market their product from social media to TV spots and ads. It’s their mix of marketing media that makes their brand recognizable, and it’s the consistent message that comes across every time that makes them stand out.
Read anything about Starbucks, and they’ll probably mention the idea of “the third place.” Their efforts to create a space where people want to come and hang out and relax. They do this by creating a similar environment in every Starbucks location.
Key Takeaway: By creating a premium experience, your brand can charge a higher price while delivering better product than your competition.
The Content Starbucks Creates Highlights Their Dedication To Consistency
So we may have mentioned this once or twice already, but consistency to their branding and their content is what puts Starbucks’ marketing strategy over the top.
Every piece of content they publish follows the same visual and language guidelines that customers have come to expect from the coffee giant. Take a look at the cohesiveness between the following examples.
Take this Instagram post for example:
The photo is bright, modern, clean,and reflective of the Starbucks brand. The language in the post describes their new espresso shot in the same way that they would if they were chatting with a customer in the store, short, sweet,and to the point.
Now let’s say that the Instagram post caught your attention. It intrigued you to the point where you wanted to learn more. So you grab your laptop and find the landing page for Starbucks’ brand new blonde espresso:
On that page you’ll see consistentcopy, except this time you’ll find a little bit more about why Starbucks has brought out the blonde espresso. They also help cater to their audience and show different recipes that their customers can order to try the new shot.
Finally,as you keep scrolling down the web page,you see a video:
In the video, you see a blended version of the 16-second spots that Starbucks created to launch the new blonde espresso. Once again, imagery, colors,and even language match the same style and tone as the Instagram post that we started with.
When you enter the store, you’ll also see it branded to promote their new coffee:
So what does all of this show to a fellow marketer?
Consistent messaging, imagery,and branding is key to delivering a lasting message to your customers.
Every piece of content that was part of this campaign was flawlessly designed and matched perfectly. From first touch to final purchase, the experience is consistent.
That level of consistencyshould be part of every piece your brand creates.
Key Takeaway: Create consistent content that shares a single message across every piece of every campaign.
7Ways Starbucks Executes Its Remarkable Marketing Strategy (That You Can Copy)
So now you know a bit more about what makes Starbucks’ marketing strategy successful. So how can you as a manager incorporate some of those strategies into your work?
Create A Loyalty Program
Starbucks has a great way of rewarding their customers who purchase their products. The Starbucks Rewards programoffers incentives for buying products with free in-store refills, free products (after a certain amount of money is spent),and extra offers and discounts in the store.
Not to mention,the mobile app makes it easy for customers to pay ahead and find a store location.
Whether it’s a mobile app program or something as simple as a punch card, try using a loyalty programto incentivize your customers to come back to your organization.
Repurpose Content Across Each Of Your Social Media Channels
Social media can be a powerhouse for any marketing team if used correctly, and Starbucks is doing just that through:
- Repurposing content
- Interacting with their customers
Starbucks creates a lot of content. However, they make it easier by repurposing content across their social media channels.
By repurposing, I mean breaking down a larger piece of content into smaller sections to reuse across multiple channels.
Now,Starbucksdoesn’tcopy posts word for wordand paste them across every network. Each social media channel is different and requires its message.
Take a look at the following photo that was used across three of their social media channels.
Each one of the posts is slightly different but still contains similar language that delivers the same message across to their audience.
So how can you do this for yourself?
Step One: Choose the language you want to use in each of your messages.
This could be as simple as product descriptors or a key phrase that needs to be in every part of your post.
Take the Starbucks posts for example. Each one contains the same “sublty sweet” reference.
Step Two: Tailor your messagefor each social media channel.
Each social media channel has its own set of message parameters and best practices that writers should follow.
For example, you have a 280 character limit on Twitter or hashtags aren’t encouraged for Facebook posts.
Recommended Reading: How To Write The Best Social Media Posts [Backed By 6,399,322 Messages + 11 Studies]
Step Three: Post at the best time.
Your social media message is only as effective as the number of people who see it. So posting at the best time for each channel can help you maximize the views your content gets.
Do This With CoSchedule: You can also send you messages at the best time automatically using CoSchedule’s Best Time Schedulingfeature.
Offer Friendly Customer Service On Social Media
They also use their social media channels (primarily Twitter) to create conversations with their fans and customers, much like the ones their baristas would have in store. These are usually short and sweet conversations that touch on the customer’s experience with the brand.
By making the most of the content they create and making their social media channels a place of conversation between their customers and the brand, Starbucks can solidify that relationship.
You can do this too.
Step 1: Choose a channel to focus on for customer support.
Choose a channel or channels that you’ll spend a majority of your time interacting with fanson. This could be the channel they are most active on or one that is more conducive to conversation.
Go through your social media analytics and look at engagement rates for each channel. Your engagement rate is calculated with this equation:
Engagement rate= total interactions of posts in a time period / number of followers on that page x100.
Step 2: Create messaging guidelines for your social team.
The next step is to create a series of guidelines or templates that help the person respond in the same voice and tone as your brand.
Those guidelines could look something like this.
- Don’t use emojis when responding on Facebook.
- Refer to our locations as lounges or stores.
- Always be friendly and polite.
- Use abbreviations only when necessary.
Step 3: Automate social media to maintain a consistent stream of content.
The last step in your process will be to automate your social media to keep a steady stream of content on each channel for your followers and fans to interact with.
If you’re a CoSchedule customer,ReQueuemakes it easy to automate and republish your best social media content. This feature that’s built directly into your CoSchedule calendar will intelligently fill gaps in your schedule with your best evergreen content.
This video walks you through just how easy it is to start republishing your best content:
Use FOMO To Your Advantage With Limited-Time Products
There’s another part of the Starbucks marketing strategy that is so important for brands to understand and that you can recreate with your products. It’s creating a fearof missing out (FOMO) with your products.
Take their red holiday cups,for example. This has been a staple of their seasonal marketing since 1997. The kicker? No holiday cup is ever the same,and it’s only available for a limited time.
There’s one more example you’re probably familiar with, too.
Three words: Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Yup, Starbucks started that craze,too. When you pioneer a craze fans crave during a specific season, you know you’ve created something significant. The fact that it’s only available during the fall only increases the sales of the drink.
So how can you create that same kind of FOMO with your products?
Step One: Choose a product that your organization could offer for a limited time.
This could revolve around a season, a limited time ingredient, you name it. Once you have your product chosen, limit the time that you’re going to make the product available.
Give your customers enough time to enjoy the product, but make it short enough that their time to purchase is limited. The way Starbucks uses the seasons is a perfect example of this.
Step Two: Spread the newsabout the product and get your audience talking about it.
Whether that’s through social media, a press release, an email or an in-app message, get the word out to your customers as soon as possible.
Ensure that every message you send has consistent language and tone so it sends the proper message.
Maintain Consistent Branding Across Everything You Create
As a marketer, how can you bring this into your strategy? By creating brand guidelines and making sure that every aspect of your marketing sticks to them.
Recommended Reading: How To Create A Brand Strategy That Will Appeal To The Right People (Free Kit)
Stick To Your Mission Statement
Your mission statement is the promise that your company wants to fulfill for your customers. For Starbucks this is delivering individual experiences in their shops, creating great coffee,and having apositive impact on the neighborhoods they are in.
Your mission statement might be a little different.
Step One: Answer The Question “why do we exist?”
Your mission statement should answer the question: Why do we exist?
Step Two: Use this template to help get your mission statement started and work with your marketing team and upper management to figure out what your organization’s purpose is:
At [Insert organization name] our goal is to bring [objective one], [objective two], and [objective three] to our customers through [action], [action],and [action].
Keep Everything Organized
The last thing that you should take away from the Starbucks marketing strategy is that you need to keep everything you do organized. The scale at which Starbucks executes their strategy cannot be done by a disorganized team.
Your marketing team needs a place where one version of truth exists.
So how do you do that?
With your CoSchedulemarketing calendar. It’stheoneversion of truth for your team.
You’ll be so organized,you’ll wonder why you didn’t switch earlier. Every piece of your marketing strategy can be planned, published, and promoted, all in one place.
Incorporate What You’ve Learned Into Your Marketing Strategy
Now you know how Starbucks stayson top of the coffee industryand why so many admire their marketing strategy.
Starbucks’attention to detail and dedication to consistency are the reasons behind why the brand is so successful in its marketing efforts (among other reasons).
So are you inspired to jumpstart your own marketing strategy?
Their brand strategy is built around two main pillars: customer experience and quality. Starbucks has increased the perceived value of its brand by providing a unique, consistent “Starbucks experience.” As a result, customers are willing to pay a higher price for a cup of Starbucks coffee.What are three main marketing strategies used in Starbucks? ›
Starbucks price strategy
Three key factors making this possible is "specific product differentiation, communication, and understanding value". In addition to profits, value-based pricing helps Starbucks build a strong base of loyal, high-income customers and reinforce a premium brand image.
Starbucks uses a large variety of channels to market their product from social media to TV spots and ads. It's their mix of marketing media that makes their brand recognizable, and it's the consistent message that comes across every time that makes them stand out. All of that promotion isn't cheap.What is Starbucks stay as long as you want marketing strategy? ›
Customers report an affinity for ordering a good coffee cup and sitting in the shop with their laptops. That's what defines Starbucks' Stay as long as you want marketing strategy. The beauty of all Starbucks' marketing strategy and branding is “consistency” – both with their vision and their target audience.What are the 4 main marketing strategies? ›
(Marketing mix explained) The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.What are the 4 branding strategies in marketing? ›
The four brand strategies are line extension, brand extension, new brand strategy, and flanker/fight brand strategy.How did Starbucks create such a successful brand? ›
It is so successful because it was able to provide an experience that changed how much of the world thought about coffee shops and how many of us drink coffee outside of our homes. Starbucks created a third place between home and work where people can relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and experience the inviting ambience.What are the 5 main marketing strategies? ›
The 5 P's of marketing are part of what is often referred to as a “marketing mix”. A marketing mix is the actions brands take to market their products and services by using a specific framework with the five biggest components of successful marketing: product, place, price, promotion, and people.What are the strategic factors facing Starbucks? ›
PORTER 5 FORCES ANALYSIS
- COMPETITIVE RIVALRY. ...
- THREAT OF NEW ENTRANTS. ...
- BARGAINING POWER OF BUYERS. ...
- BARGAINING POWER OF SUPPLIERS. ...
- THE THREAT OF SUBSTITUTION.
The one that Starbucks uses to attract customers who gush about their business? It's simple: they send birthday cards to their rewards members. All they do is email or text their customers on their birthdays – and they include a free drink voucher that the customer can redeem at any Starbucks location.
Starbucks' brand identity begins with a green logo in a circular shape. The green color elicits nature, tranquility, and health in the person who drinks Starbucks. In 2011, Starbucks took the bold approach to completely remove the outer ring of their logo that had the Starbucks name.What is Starbucks new strategy? ›
In its fiscal 2023, Starbucks plans to invest roughly $450 million to upgrade its cafes with new equipment that will simplify operations and speed up operations.What is the most powerful marketing strategy? ›
If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner. Content marketing encompasses blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, webinars, and more – basically, any type of content you can distribute online falls into this category.What is an example of a marketing strategy? ›
For example, if your marketing plan is to promote a new product or service, you might have a strategy dedicated to how you're going to use email marketing to support these broader goals. Every marketing plan will most likely produce several marketing strategies as part of the broader plan.
- Brand Storytelling.
- Digital PR.
- The Surround Sound Method.
- Brand Extensions.
- Video Marketing.
- Community Building.
- Contextual Marketing.
Ideally, your brand strategy outlines the key elements that make your brand unique, your mission and goals, and how you'll deliver on them. A strong brand strategy is meticulously crafted, taking into account all aspects of your market, niche, product or service offerings, customers, and competitors.What are 5 branding strategies give some examples? ›
- Company Name Branding. Well-known brands leverage the popularity of their own company names to improve brand recognition. ...
- Individual Branding. ...
- Attitude Branding. ...
- Brand Extension Branding. ...
- Private-Label Branding.
They always manage to create posts that make people want to comment on, engage, or share them. Plus, the replies are quick and personalized too! Starbucks personalizes each communication with its audience on Facebook. Starbucks' social media team acts very friendly in every conversation.How did Starbucks create its competitive advantage Why was it so successful? ›
Selling coffee of the highest quality.
Accordingly, the coffee chain giant focuses on the quality of its products and customers pay premium prices for high quality. Excellent customer services as one of the solid sources of Starbucks competitive advantage further increases the attractiveness of the coffee retailer.
How did Starbucks create its uniqueness in the irst place? Why was it so successful? Starbucks irst sold only cofee beans, then the organizaion coninued to place itself geographically in a very locaion that was homelike, providing an environment where people could get cofee with families and friends (drinks).
- Introducing new, industry-leading and more efficient coffee brewing equipment such as the new Mastrena II espresso machines and the new Starbucks Cold Brewer.
- Installing innovative and efficient MerryChef ovens across thousands of stores.
- Deploying new, efficient handheld ordering devices to stores.
- Demographic segmentation divides people based on their age, income, education level, and occupation. ...
- Psychographic segmentation divides people based on their values, attitudes, and interests.
There are three standard types of product positioning strategies brands should consider: comparative, differentiation, and segmentation. Through these strategies, brands can help their product stand out by targeting the right audiences with the best message.How does Starbucks engage customers? ›
By staying active on social media, Starbucks is able to engage with its customers and build brand loyalty. By understanding its customers' needs and desires, it can create products that meet those needs and increase sales. Starbucks provides a personalized experience to its audience on social media.What is a successful marketing strategy? ›
The most effective marketing strategies are those that are targeted toward a specific audience, focused on key benefits based on the audience's point of view and interests, and delivered at an appropriate time – when the audience is most likely to be attentive to and interested in the message being delivered.What are key marketing strategies? ›
- Segmentation. Your existing and potential customers fall into particular groups or segments, characterised by their 'needs'. ...
- Targeting and positioning. ...
- Promotional tactics. ...
- Monitoring and evaluation. ...
- Marketing plan.
A great example of their branding strategies is their “Think Different” campaign. They realized that their customers wanted to be great, innovative, game changers and different. They knew that their competitors were strong and could deliver good quality products, so how can they convince their customers to choose them?What are the 7 marketing strategies? ›
The 7 Ps of Marketing
These seven are: product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people. As products, markets, customers and needs change rapidly, you must continually revisit these seven Ps to make sure you're on track and achieving the maximum results possible for you in today's marketplace.
A marketing strategy is a long-term plan for achieving a company's goals by understanding the needs of customers and creating a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage. It encompasses everything from determining who your customers are to deciding what channels you use to reach those customers.What is the importance of marketing? ›
The importance of marketing for your business is that it makes the customers aware of your products or services, engages them, and helps them make the buying decision. Furthermore, a marketing plan, a part of your business plan helps in creating and maintaining demand, relevance, reputation, competition, etc.
- Consider your organization's mission and vision statements.
- Identify your company's core values.
- Conduct a SWOT analysis.
- Outline tactics to achieve goals.
- Create a plan for allocating resources to achieve the desired outcome.
- Evaluate results for effectiveness.
The building blocks of an effective marketing strategy include the 6 P's of marketing: product, price, place, promotion, people, and presentation. The effective integration of the 6 P's of marketing can serve as the foundation for an effective growth strategy.How do you create a good product strategy? ›
- Deeply understand and describe your customer. ...
- Ensure you have a well-defined product vision. ...
- Find your product's unique selling point. ...
- Collaborate with different stakeholders. ...
- Test and adjust. ...
- Make a plan to execute.