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Starbucks is a well-established American coffeeshop chain, which operates in a global scale. At present, the company runs its venture in more than 82 markets with 32,000 company operated and licensed stores. The success of the company is reflected in its leadership position in terms of market share and its high revenue generation. As of 2019, Starbucks recorded a revenue of USD 26.51 billion, which is significant increase from 2014, when it earned USD 16.45. Moreover, the company also has a created a strong brand image among its stakeholders. In 2019, the Starbucks brand was valued at USD 11.8 billion, which is also a prominent improvement from USD 9.52 billion from the previous year. The growth of the company can be attributed to its marketing strategy, especially its promotional activities. In this article we have presented an in-depth discussion on the promotional strategies adopted by Starbucks to create a strong brand awareness in the target markets. This can be really beneficial for you when you are preparing a marketing essay on the company.

Promotional Strategy of Starbucks

The promotional strategy of a company refers to a set of actionable plans for creating awareness for a brand or its products or services among a target audience. It plays in crucial role in attracting the customers towards the brand and convincing them to make a purchase. It also helps a company to create a strong differentiation in the market, thereby breaking the clutter for the audience. For a business management student, it is essential for you to learn about promotional strategies of successful firms like Starbucks so that you can perform better in professional essay writing.

A close look at the promotional strategies of Starbucks, reveals that the company has adopted an integrated marketing strategy (IMC) to promote its brand and its value offering. IMC strategy involves a combination of different promotional mediums or communication channels to reach out to the target audience. Using multiple channels helps in reinforcing the communicational message, and becomes more convincing to the audience. It also allows the firm to ensure that customers can easily recall the brand and its attributes while making a purchase decision.

In case of Starbuck, the company has adopted various promotional channels, which includes TV commercials, social media advertising, SMS marketing, print media such as billboards, posters, etc. In this article we will take a look at some of the most commonly used promotional strategies of Starbucks, categorized under digital and traditional marketing.

Traditional Marketing of Starbucks

TV Commercials: The promotion of Starbucks relies heavily on TV commercials. It helps the company to reach out to a much larger and wider demography of audience, which can help in achieving higher footfall. The TV commercials of Starbucks are typically designed to communicate the value for the consumers while. Rather than discussing what the products are, the marketing communication focuses on highlighting how the consumers can enjoy the product. By showing appealing imagery of beverages and multiple use case scenarios, Starbucks seeks to create a positive appeal towards the brand. It also makes it easier for the audience to be able to relate to the brand image and become a part of the Starbucks culture. The company also communicates specific information which helps the customers to make their purchase decision easily.

Outdoor Advertising: Starbucks has always followed a minimalistic, creative and witty approach when it comes to outdoor advertising.

The outdoor ads like billboards or hoardings contain very limited use of texts and bright colors along with use of subtle images to communicate the key message. The outdoor ads of Starbucks usually aim at keeping the customers aware of new product introductions or promotional offers at nearby outlets. The minimalist approach helps in quickly grabbing the attention of the audience in a high traffic area, while passing on the intended message in a brief span of time. This is quite important for the company because, people travelling outdoors do not always have much time to read through all the texts in the ad. So, keeping it minimal and appealing is crucial to its effectiveness.

Magazine Ads:The magazine ads of Starbucks rely heavily on attractive colorful images. It helps in grabbing the attention of the readers, when they are casually browsing through the pages of the magazine. Unlike outdoor ads, the magazine ads are often accompanied by detailed, yet clutter free texts. The eye-catching images stops the reader and convinces them to look at the ad, while they curiously read through the text. Since, a reader has more time to look at a magazine ad, therefore it is relevant for add more detailed text. In case of Starbucks, the company typically use magazine ads for corporate branding, or product promotion for the season.

Each of the advertisement of Starbucks is people centric and highlights the value offered to the customers and the community. This approach is clearly aligned with the mission statement of Starbucks, which showcases the company’s focus on social development. You can use the traditional media marketing of Starbucks as a case study for your papers. Now that you have a clear idea of how Starbucks manages its brand in traditional media, let us now look at the digital media platforms.

Digital Marketing of Starbucks

Social Media: Starbucks is actively present in social media platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. These platforms allow the company to interact with their customers and to promote their brand. The company posts fresh content in their social media pages, at regular interval of time. These contents are visually appealing, highlighting new promotional offers, seasonal discounts, upcoming product introductions, or any other promotional messages. The company also interacts with the customers as they reply to their comments or address their concerns. This as a result allow them to create a good relationship with the customers. Simultaneously, the customers also feel a sense of belongingness with the brand. It should also be noted that the social media presence of Starbucks also allows the company to assess the general sentiments of the customers towards the brand. This in turn allows them to modify their marketing strategies accordingly.

Search Engine Ads: Starbucks make significant investments on inorganic or paid advertisements, especially on Google search engine. The increasing popularity of search engines particularly Google, provides plenty of opportunities for advertising. Search engine ads helps in the company to bring their customers to their home page from where they can order online, find the nearest outlet and check for newly introduced products or promotional offers. The search engine ads always make sure that the customers land on the right page, every time.

As mentioned earlier, the IMC strategy of Starbuck involve a combination of various promotional mediums, each one of them seeks to attract the audience and convinces them to make a purchase. However, when you are implementing IMC strategy in your college paper, you need to make sure that each of the advertisements or promotional activities are aligned to each other. There should not be any disconnect between them. All the ads should communicate the same core message, but in different envelopes. The audience should easily be able to relate one ad in one platform to another one in a different platform. In case of Starbucks, the company has maintained its people centric and value-oriented brand image across all the promotional mediums. Moreover, the company has also ensured that the promotional activities are aligned to its core values and mission statement.

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