Why is branding so important?
The better question: why would I pay $5 for a cup of coffee? Because the Starbucks Coffee brand is iconic. (Strap in because Starbucks is about to school you in incredible brand building and management). Because I’ll drink your decent coffee, pick up your beautifully printed handouts around your store, and stop my skimming of the NYTimes for your company. It’s a piece of our culture that we automatically associate with the word “coffee.”
How have they done it?
When we think brand, we initially just think of a logo, but the brand of a company is so much more than that. It’s how they are viewed in the eyes of the general public. The company’s pictures are eye-catching. The Starbucks logo has evolved in the most innovative way I have ever seen done by a company. People who have never touched a cup of coffee know this logo (all over the world). The graphics are sleek and appealing. They are very responsive on all of their social media. They participate in many community outreach events. They work their way into our early mornings, lunch breaks, and late evenings. And this is all the brand of Starbucks.
SEO (search engine optimization) also helps. They may just be @Starbucks on all of their social media, but their brand name has the word “coffee” in it, and any post or article we find about them contains coffee multiple times.
They brand new products, like the Cascara Latte, in trendy ways that will get retweets and favorites, so the advertising is cheap and basically runs itself. All of their newest drinks, they automatically create a hashtag for, and this allows them to communicate easily with customers about specific topics. It’s brilliant, really.
They’ve even worked themselves into your daily workout. They run the gamut in terms of the audience they reach. Even the hipsters who only drink from local coffee shops probably have a special place for Starbucks Coffee in their hearts.
They even get themselves into the activist sphere of their buyers. Starbucks is a huge company for supporting veterans and the military, and they make sure to publicize about that (especially in their newsroom, which you can check out here). And coffee shops are generally seen as a space for community. Just because Starbucks is a multi-billion dollar corporation doesn’t mean they aren’t also that same community-based coffee shop we’ve all known and loved. They make sure to do good in the communities they are serving, whether that’s with a cup of coffee to get your day going or an event supporting veterans in your area.
These are a few, out of so many, of the things that contribute to Starbucks’ brand. What makes an even stronger brand is that they realize they are such an influential brand, not just in the States, but around the world, and they use that voice for good.
So I’ll always say, “Shop local,” when it’s an option, but in terms of huge companies that make the most dependable cup of black coffee when the mornings start early AND do some good in the world, I’d always choose Starbucks Coffee.
P.S. Creative Crack is a new series I’ve started to parallel with a Public Relations Writing class I’ve been taking. These posts will also carry out of this semester, especially when I find brands, graphics, etc. that set me on fire. Thanks for joining in on this journey.