With expansion driving increased revenue for Starbucks,
up 12 percent since 2012, the brand has grown far beyond coffee shops. Starbucks
has over 20,500 stores worldwide, and plans to open 3,000 more by 2017. Products
like Evolution fresh juices and La Boulange food offerings increase brand relevance.
In response to U.S. competition from large quick-service restaurants in the
specialty U.S. coffee market, Starbucks now offers wine and snacks in select stores.
CEO Howard Schultz cites loyalty and digital as key factors in elevating the
brand. The success of My Starbucks rewards and its mobile payments app backs
Starbucks stands out in the coffee market through
its commitment to fair trade practices, a major reason why the brand featured
in Ethisphere's 2014 list of World's Most Ethical Companies. With 95 percent of
its beans now ethically sourced, Starbucks is on track to reach the goal of
having all its beans ethically sourced by 2015. The company is also reducing
energy dependency in all stores and has already significantly reduced waste by encouraging
consumers to recycle and use reusable cups. Other moves to improve its social
image include plans to employ 10,000 veterans and military spouses in the U.S. by
2018 and relocating its European headquarters from Amsterdam to London to
overcome negative brand perceptions relating to its corporate tax history.
The brand's first global campaign, "Meet me
at Starbucks," with its shift from focus on products to focus on feel-good
storytelling, certainly has potential to increase brand strength and global
presence. A mini-documentary, shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries, is
at the center of the campaign and chronicles the stories that happen inside
Starbucks' stores. Going big, the ongoing campaign will involve YouTube videos,
display ads, buys across multiple news sites, possible TV spots, and social
media efforts like an instagram hashtag, #HowWeMet, that will encourage users
to take photos illustrating their personal stories. If Starbucks continues
expanding, delivering on sustainability commitments, satisfying consumer demand-and
if it succeeds in engaging hearts and minds around the world with its global
campaign-the brand will reap the rewards in both profits and loyalty.