Are you sure you don’t like Starbucks? Everyone’s talking about it. 

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So we did a coffee insight study with Standices to measure what people are talking online about coffee.  As long as it is related to coffee, we will capture the data (e.g. Pumpkin Spice from Starbucks!).

We managed to capture the time, the related terms and Starbucks. In this article, I am going to use Starbucks as my main example. Sure, there are other brands that are highlighted, e.g. Costa, Horton, but Starbucks is by far the most evident in this study as it is seen in every monthly tracking and in almost every country’s chatter.  

Note: Before moving on, I just like to state that this is a not a promotional article and I am in no way sponsored by Starbucks. This is written solely based on my interpretation of the tracking results.

We heard about how people made some negative or unpleasant comments about Starbucks so why does everyone still love them?

This is good old marketing 101. Firstly they are so well positioned that they are in your mind before you are in their store. There are lots of theories about capturing mind share before market share and Starbucks does it better than anyone else.

If I ask one question now: Which is the best Café? 9 out 10 of you will answer Starbucks, simply not because they are the best but because this is what is on your mind.

Here’s my take on why Starbucks is so “loved”.

The power of holistic Marketing

In the month of September, an interesting word “pumpkin” was captured. We were looking for coffee related terms, so why would this term pop up?  Well, it happened to be the launch of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.

To say that Pumpkin Spice Latte had a good marketing campaign is an understatement, it had news generated everywhere from Mashable to Hillary Clinton who was talking about it.

They make a latte drink newsworthy. They created narratives for their drinks, whereas most other cafes will probably just be pairing it with their breakfast set.

People write articles about it (much like what I am doing and what you are reading now!). Starbucks did not price it lower, they just made it more interesting for you to want to consume it using their entire arsenals of marketing tools to communicate about it.

O2O marketing

They have been many talks about O2O (Offline to online) marketing, and in this sentiment study, I noticed how the offline presence of a brand could affect its online presence.

In the UK chatter, other than Starbucks, there is a frequent mention of Costa, another strong coffee player there.

And in Canada, you will see Horton. How well you handle the marketing will translate to the mileage you get from your WOM marketing.

WOM marketing

Some call it viral marketing, WOM or Word of Mouth happens when you get individuals talking about your brand and they are not paid to do so. This effect is greatly multiplied on social media.

Take the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for example; when you create the right narrative and people start to chat about it, you get lots of marketing mileage.

Whether you are going to buy this drink is immaterial because Starbucks had just gotten another free publicity from the story it had created on the Pumpkin Spice.

And ultimately,  this will create an opportunity to generate more sales, e.g. after reading so much about Pumpkin Spice, aren’t you just a little bit curious on how it taste like? Wouldn’t you consider checking out your local Starbucks store the next time you pass by?

I am sure many of you still don’t like Starbucks but you cannot deny knowing this brand and associating them with coffee. This is key, because with critical mass knowing them and associating them with coffee, they are bound to sell more coffee, don’t you agree?

Share with me your thoughts about whether you agree or don’t agree that Starbucks is good in marketing their products.

Contact us if you are interested in a copy of the coffee industry report.

About the Author: 

Ebenezer Heng runs a community that reaches out to 0.5 million people daily (’s digital assets). Lectures in a Singapore Tertiary Institution and advises digital marketing for organisations such as Chinese Chamber of Commerce, National Sports Association, Constituencies. 

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Posted by Ebenezer Heng on Monday, July 13, 2015

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