sunnuntai 19. helmikuuta 2012

Starbucks Communication Channel - The Social Media Rules

Hi Fellas! I bet you have read a lot of analysis I put up recently. Here comes something real fun again. I am studying the communication channel and strategy Starbucks could use in Finland.

Newspaper, Magazine, LED light box… you must be kidding me! Did you ever realize that it’s rare to find a Starbucks ad in a billboard, ad space, newspaper or poster in places where you can expect to see advertisements for most other establishments, even huge ones like McDonalds? So let’s put aside your “crazy” ideas, and allow me to tell you what Starbucks has done and should do about its communication strategy.

The answer is Social Media. That’s right! There are a variety of options available in today’s media-led world. Social media promotion is being touted to be one of the most effective and probably the best possible promotional medium for promotion and marketing, especially in the urban sector. Social media is pretty much available to everyone, and it is cheaper and wider reaching than many other media, which makes it an increasingly indispensible of media marketing for any company. However in the multitude of companies that attain success in the social media marketing sector, Starbucks comes across hands down as the ultimate winner. It has been named the most popular consumer on the social web according to a latest survey by the UK based Fame count. For those of you who don’t know, Starbucks was the first consumer brand to reach 10 Million fans on Facebook… you thought it was coke right? Starbucks is the world’s leading social marketer has been ranked #1 in online engagement, #1 on Facebook and the #1 Tweeted brand. However it is not mere numbers that make Starbucks the pioneer of the field, but it is the way those numbers are built.

If Starbucks comes up with a new viral social media campaign it has other companies taking notes. Here comes how Starbucks paved their way through social and the creative opportunities that it brings through empowering fans and helping the global community.

“Brand Marketing” – The Starbucks marketing strategy has always focused on “word-of-mouth” advertising and letting the high quality of their products and services speak for themselves. For years, this has been uniquely Starbucks, and it has played a huge part in making Starbucks Coffee Company a success. The definition of social media viral marketing speaks to this new word of mouth that Starbucks has run with and made their own.

“Creating a Starbucks Community” – The Starbucks social media viral marketing strategy has even expanded to create a community around their brand. On their website, on Facebook, on Twitter and in their blogs; individuals are encouraged to express their experiences with Starbucks history, and the company strives to “personally” join in the discussions.

Starbucks on twitter - Starbucks engages with customers on twitter, answerING questions, retweets, what people are saying about the brand and creates an open communication channel to speak with the public.

Starbucks on Facebook – Starbucks uploads content to their Facebook page such as: Videos, blog posts, photos. The company also invites people to events. Fans have a place to open discussions and comment as many of them do.

Starbucks on YouTube -Over 4800 people subscribe to Starbucks YouTube Channel. They upload videos of commercials as well as informational videos explaining the origins of the different coffee blends and some of their charity work videos. They also upload videos showing their history thus enabling people to relate more to the brand.

Starbucks also allows people to embed its videos anywhere they like on the Web. Many companies don’t allow this because they’re afraid their videos might end up on places they don’t want to be associated with. However, from Starbucks’ experience, this strategy has proven to only increase the positive exposure of brands that allow embedding and not the opposite.

“My Starbucks Idea” – Starbucks’ own version of a social network welcomes the customers to share their ideas on anything related to Starbucks. The site gives users the ability to see what others are suggesting, vote on ideas and check out the results. This site is a brilliant and important aspect of Starbucks social media strategy. Users who are part of this network feel that they have some role in the decision making process of the company and it makes them feel a part of it.

Starbucks Blog entitled “Ideas in Action” – Starbucks Blog is written by various Starbucks employees and talks about what Starbucks is doing with the ideas given by users on the My Starbucks Idea site. The blog keeps customers in the loop and in the know regarding what’s happening with their ideas and increases their sense of loyalty to the brand.

Overall Starbucks’s social media strategy integrates many different elements into the mix and combined together, these elements create a social media plan that works beautifully to create millions of fans for the brand and keep them involved in the brand’s doings. The brand has created a digital dialogue with its customers, enabling people to give their feedback and receive a response back from Starbucks addressing their concerns/comments. Starbucks is showing its customers and potential customers – “hey, we care about what YOU have to say.” I believe any business that claims and proves to put people before business often experiences consistent success and Starbucks is an excellent proof of the phenomenon.

I am certain that if each one of these elements was implemented alone then the strategy would not have been as successful and complete as with the rest of the elements on board. Many brands can learn a great deal from the way that Starbucks conquered the social web. It is really all a matter of priorities. Starbucks put communicating with their customers and potential customers as a top priority. Do I have to say any more? With this mature and well-thought social media approach, Starbucks has no doubt to win the hearts and love of the Finnish fans and many who are not a fan yet, only not yet!


Starbucks Social Media Marketing Strategy: New Campaign & Plans For 2011

Starbucks Success Is It’s Word Of Mouth/Social Media/Viral Marketing Strategy

Starbucks Social Strategy Keynote

The Starbucks Formula for Social Media Success

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