This post is for all my peeps out there who have a frequent craving for the cup with a little green straw. Starbucks is an extremely well established coffee company; their original store is located in Seattle, Washington (I’ve been there!) They have stores all over the world. Even if you’ve never been to Starbucks, I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard of them. How are they so successful? Why does everyone seem to love Starbucks? Good public relations, that’s how. Having a menu with a variety of tasty treats and drinks and hard-working employees are only part of the company’s success.
Starbucks coffee is extremely active on social media which replaces the need to constantly advertise on television or radio (in my opinion). Starbucks commercials are not so common. It could be that I’m not watching the correct channels but I can only think of one television commercial the company has released.
The coffee powerhouse has a beautiful Instagram feed (@Starbucks) and is also active on Twitter (@Starbucks). These two social media platforms work really well together because they both incorporate hash tags and promote interaction between users. For example, Starbucks has recently been advertising an event using the tag, #Starbucksdate and encouraging others to use it in their posts as well.
The company organized an event for Valentine’s Day they call, “The world’s largest #Starbucksdate.” In order to promote love on so-called “single-awareness day,” the idea is that everyone should have a Starbucks date with someone they care about. At select locations, from two p.m. until close, they have a special that comprises a dessert and a coffee drink for $5.
If that isn’t enough, they also paired up with Match.com to help people make connections. Match now has a “meet at Starbucks” feature that allows users to find a local Starbucks to meet at. How crazy is that? The #Starbucksdate is only one example of a campaign/event that Starbucks has sponsored, but I think it’s a brilliant idea as far as luring people into their store. (As if people don’t have coffee on Valentine’s Day anyway)
For those of you who have taken a PR strategies class, you know that proactive strategies are the way to go. Involve your audience, make changes to the organization, be open to new ways of doing things. Starbucks has a program called MyStarbucksIdea where customers can send in their own suggestions of what they want to see in the company. Starbucks reads through the suggestions and picks ideas to implement. Perfect example of the two-way symmetrical model (woah, big word!) People respond to you when you take the time and effort to respond to them. Show them you care and are doing everything you can to make their experience great and they’ll answer the call to action. (Most of the time)
Starbucks is constantly retweeting and replying to people on Twitter and featuring other people’s photos on their Instagram feed. This provides a sense of “hey, they care about me as a person, not just a customer.” Public relations is, in a word, about relationships. Starbucks obviously cannot reach out to everyone but they put in a great effort to keep up relationships with their customers.
Let’s face it: I’ll probably never stop drinking Starbucks coffee and perhaps my love for Starbucks has swayed my opinion as far as analyzing their PR strategies but you cannot deny that whatever they’re doing is working. Hopefully this provided some insight on a successful company’s method of madness or at least gave you a craving for some Chai tea. Until next time, on PR Talk.