Starbucks has become a huge, popular coffee chain around the world, but they consistently work hard to maintain their positive reputation.
Every element of their branding is based on strategic planning, along with an in depth analyzation of their audience. They maintain their relevant branding in both their physical stores and their social media presence.
We analyzed their branding style along with their social media methods and concluded that they win the ultimate “coffee marketing award”.
Name: Created in 1971, the name Starbucks was inspired by Moby Dick.
Logo: The Starbucks logo is a green circle with a Siren (a dangerous mythological creature – similar to a mermaid). There were previous variations of this logo and it evolved throughout the years, with the Siren image getting closer each time.
Physical Store: Inside of Starbucks, there are “nature-influenced” dark colors and wood finishes. This gives off a homey feel and makes people feel comfortable, relaxed, and connected.
There are also special Starbucks Reserve stores, which are described as “open, marketplace-style” stores, with a full liquor bar, and a Reserve coffee bar, with tables, lounge areas and fireplaces.
International Appeal: Starbucks exists in 6 continents and more than 72 countries and territories.
Seattle is the city of origin, and it’s one of the biggest port cities in the United States. So the branding makes sense to be related to seafaring, digging deep into the company’s roots.
The green color of the logo was chosen very strategically. From a psychological standpoint, the color green “evokes a feeling of abundance and is associated with refreshment and peace, rest, and security.”
This color makes sense for the Starbucks brand because as a coffee shop, it’s important to provide people with a peaceful and refreshing experience.
Customers like to know that they can trust and rely on a company, and Starbucks not only does that through quality, but also through their environment with visuals and strong customer service.
Starbucks created a welcoming environment with the visual branding of their stores. This aspect is appealing to people who want to go to a coffee shop and stay awhile to either chat with friends or to work on their laptops.
Social Media Analysis
- They have private Facebook Groups. One example of this is The Leaf Rakers Society, created in the fall of 2018 to promote the popular Pumpkin Spice Latte. Users are consistently active, even when it is not fall time. The longevity of this represents the impact of their Facebook groups. Members tend to feel special due to exclusive content, updates, and connections.
- They regularly interact with their audience. In the comments, they respond to questions and concerns while also incoporating an aspect of entertainment, humor, and strong brand personality. When people receive responses or see Starbucks respond to others, it instills trust and reliability in the brand.
- They showcase real people. From employees, to customers, to loyal fans, Starbucks likes to keep a human element to their Facebook. This is better than using actors or stock photos/videos because it gives customers the reassurance that this is a brand who truly cares about people. Starbucks maintains their authenticity, which is why it is so appealing to many people.
On October 20, we opened our first U.S. signing store in Washington, D.C. down the street from Gallaudet University, a school for the Deaf. The store is specially designed for Deaf and hard of…
- They tweet engaging content. They start polls regularly, they ask questions within their posts to start conversations, and they also share random, entertaining content. This is more effective than simply cross-posting everything they share on other social platforms. It gives them more audience/customer interaction on a casual and personal level.
- They post user-generated content. Starbucks likes to tweet user-generated images and share meaningful, heartfelt stories about their customers and employees. They like to show that they appreciate their fans and they care about the people who work for them. This is also a continuation of the human element they add to their brand.
Every Sunday Hugh visits Starbucks. When some fellow regulars found out Hugh was a veteran they decided to make him a quilt, and surprised him with it the following week. Every gesture of kindness and appreciation matters. 💚 📷: Yomi Sachiko
- They contribute to conversations on trending topics. Although Starbucks is already relevant, they add to their relevancy by joining popular conversation topics on Twitter. For example, when a rogue Starbucks cup appeared in an episode of Game Of Thrones (although it turns out it was a different coffee cup), there was a huge buzz online. Starbucks tweeted about it without any clear context and they still received high engagement.
- They post high quality, likeable photos. Their Instagram account is visually appealing, which is highly important for engagement on this platform. They present their products in a creative way through both photos and videos. This works well because Instagram typically has younger users who enjoy interacting with colorful and unique visual posts.
Refreshment comes in every color (especially pink.) 💖 Pink Drink 💞 Dragon Drink ❤️ Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers 💕 Mango Dragonfruit Starbucks Refreshers
407.6k Likes, 5,667 Comments – Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Instagram: “Refreshment comes in every color (especially pink.) 💖 Pink Drink 💞 Dragon Drink ❤️ Strawberry…”
- They acknowledge their audience’s opinions, needs, and wants. An important part of maintaining a positive brand reputation is tending to your audience’s needs. Starbucks does this on all platforms, but it is very prevelant on Instagram. For example, when the summer of 2019 began, many people were requesting Starbucks to bring back their S’mores Frappuccino. Starbucks released a series of videos on their Instagram that included tweets from their audience and revealed that they were bringing back the drink due to popular demand.
103k Likes, 2,350 Comments – Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Instagram: “PROOF THAT TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS EFFECTIVE AND S’MORES IS COMING BACK ON APRIL 30. [US + CANADA]”
- They use influencers to further enhance their brand. Collaborating with inflluencers on Instagram can help to add character to your brand, and Starbucks does this very strategically. They tend to collaborate with a variety of influencers, which helps their brand appear more authentic and it helps them increase their engagement. This is because Instagram influencers tend to have high engagement rates to begin with, and many of them are seen as genuine, “real” people.
80.6k Likes, 456 Comments – Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on Instagram: “Why settle for just a pop of pink? #DragonfruitInspired 📸 by: @GoodToMicha”
Starbucks is a solid example of a company who understands how to appeal directly to their audience.
They understand how to adjust their social strategy based on each platform, and they take the time and effort to engage with their followers.
They take that same energy and passion and put it into their physical stores, products, beverages, and food. It’s important that their physical presence matches their social media presence.
When it comes down to it, Starbucks knows their brand inside and out. From their physical branding to their social media marketing strategies, they rule the coffee marketing kingdom.
About The Author
Laura Wigodner is the Content Marketing Manager for Nex Gen Dynamics. Her lifestyle articles have been featured on Elite Daily, Medium, and Thought Catalog to name a few. She also writes professionally on Content Marketing, Social Media, Branding, and more. A Bradley University Alum with a B.A. in Communications and Creative Writing, Laura loves writing poetry and watching YouTube videos. You can find the Swiftie on Twitter and Instagram, as well as anywhere there is coffee because that is her lifeline.