I am sitting in a Starbucks right now, and I began to question why I came here. The thought of Starbucks crossed my mind earlier today and it just felt right, so here I am. It got me thinking about how their marketing strategies are working on me. There is something Starbucks does very well, and that is getting people to talk about them. This goes for on social media and in person. I am never more than a day late in knowing what color cups Starbucks is using. I am somehow always aware of what the seasonal drinks are and when they arrive, even if I don’t step foot into a Starbucks. However, if I hear that peppermint mochas are back you can bet a cake pop that I will be there within the week.
Starbucks somehow convinced the world, or at least teenage girls, that this was the “cool” place to get coffee, and I am confident that it can be attributed to their marketing. Even people who openly do not like coffee want to like Starbucks. I remember what got me to jump on the Starbucks train. I was a wide-eyed high school freshman with a moderate to low interest in coffee (only the ones that were sweet enough to not taste too much like coffee), a collection of Starbucks gift cards, and the inherent need to follow trends. I before Starbucks gift cards, a girl’s default birthday gift to friends was Bath and Body Works hand sanitizers and lotions. In 2011, we graduated to Starbucks gift cards when we got to high school. This was also the same time that iPhones had just become the craze. I remember getting the Starbucks iPhone app to load my gift cards on, because I thought it was so cool and trendy to be able to pay for my drink by scanning my phone in the app. By getting the app and making an account, I was earning “stars” and getting free drinks and discounts that kept me using the app even after my gift cards ran out. This was genius for Starbucks, especially considering that most businesses had not done loyalty programs using iPhone apps yet.
Now I am a college student who thrives on an average of 3 cups of coffee a day and loves to branch out to more local places for coffee but sometimes it is nice to go back to the comfort of a nice Starbucks Frappuccino.
Starbucks has done a very good job establishing their brand in a way that gets their customers to do the advertising for them. An outfit on Pinterest is often completed with a Starbucks cup in hand. The image that Starbucks has created for themselves was made possible because of the social media boom.
I am curious to see how Starbucks continues to brand themselves, whether they try to move away from the teenage girl vibe or if they let that run its course on social media while pursuing other target markets in other forms of marketing. Whichever they chose, I am sure they will be the dominant coffee shop for quite some time.