Starbucks is by far one of the most popular and recognizable brands across the world. Their brand recognition is something many small businesses can only dream of. We may not all have the multi-million-dollar marketing budget that a company like Starbucks has. But it is important to remember that their success and their marketing started on a smaller, less grand scale at one time too. Starbucks has implemented a stellar marketing strategy that has worked for them. And their key marketing principles can work for you too.
Starbucks coffeehouses are international. So consistency with their branding is important. Successful brand consistency means maintaining your message across all avenues. Every public message, every commercial, all advertisements, your in-store designs, and every customer experiences. Starbucks’ logo and branding design have remained fairly consistent over the course of their existence too.
The iconic Starbucks symbol that decorates your daily cup of coffee has gone through four redesigns over the years. The bulk of the logo has remained familiar and recognizable through each recreation. They are an international reach spanning across 55 different countries. Establishing a brand design that would appeal to such a large base and a variety of cultures was no easy task. But Starbucks has mastered this.
Any good marketer will tell you that one of the most important aspects of a successful marketing campaign is to know your target audience. Starbucks’ coffee is not the cheapest cup on the market. They know that, and they are okay with that because their target audience is not everyone and anyone.
Creating the “Third Place”
The target audience of Starbucks is middle to upper-class men and women. It’s the percentage of the general public who can afford their higher priced cups of coffee on a regular or daily basis. And this is who their marketing is targeted to reach. Starbucks’ marketing focuses on creating the perfect “third place”. That place between work and home that is inviting enough to visit daily as part of your routine. And comfortable enough to sometimes stay a while to sit and sip. All of their marketing is geared towards selling this “third place” feeling. This is because this is what will appeal to their target audience.
Creating a loyalty program is a great way to reward your customers and keep them coming back. Starbucks has a very successful loyalty program, offering valuable incentives for buying their products with free coffee refills, free products, and substantial discounts. They’ve expanded their loyalty program from the old-school punch cards to a user-friendly mobile app which makes it easy for customers to order ahead, pay with their smartphone, and even schedule a curbside pickup at certain locations. This level of convenience keeps their regular customers loyal and constantly draws in new followers.
The clean and modern, yet comfortable and welcoming vibe of Starbucks bleeds through in everything Starbucks does. In addition to maintaining consistency with their logo and branding, they have also managed to do this across their store atmospheres, print advertising, digital content, and non-edible products. Everything from their tumblers to their coffee bags screams the brand Starbucks through their design, no matter what location or even what country.
From the moment you see their sign passing your car to that first sip of coffee is the level of consistency that has helped Starbucks achieve the superstar status they have today.