STARBUCKS Digital Marketing Stardom

6 Min Read. |

Snuggling with our cozy blankets to sleep 5 more minutes extra, is when the winter has fallen upon us with its short days & long nights. In such Lazy mornings, the only drink that can rejuvenate & revitalize our sleepy dead cells is the strong flavor of a Barista’s fresh brewing cup of COFFEE.

And when I say ‘COFFEE’!!… It is Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit – one person, one cup, one neighborhood at a time… Our very own brand ‘STARBUCKS’ comes to our mind.

About the company:

Starbucks_LogoStarbucks Corporation is an American coffee company and coffee house chain which is spread across 67 countries, operating 23,391 locations worldwide. The first Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington, on March 30, 1971, by three partners named; Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl & Gordon Bowker. The brand was coincidentally named after a town called ‘STARBO’ & the Logo is an image of a “twin-tailed mermaid, or Siren as she’s known in Greek mythology”.

An inspiration to sell high-quality coffee beans later turned to the innovation of its own. Started from a small cup of Espresso – Today the brand serves more than 80,000 drink combination….

SHOCKED?!! So do I….. With so many choices, you’re practically shamed into having your own special order.

Starbucks major Crash:

In July 2008, Starbucks quarterly earnings tanked, global operating income sunk 26%, and the company’s in-store sales figures were negative for the first time in the brand’s history. Starbucks lost money reporting a net loss of $6.7 million for the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, profits further dipped by 97% and earnings for the year tumbled to 53%. As the financial crisis engulfed the North America, Europe and Asia, Starbucks saw its sales figures in the red by 8%. Hence, by closing 900 stores, it laid-off hundreds of people.

The Rise of A new Objective:

According to Howard Schultz, Starbucks had ‘forgotten what we stand for’. They realized the vision of a company must not be limited to opening a branch but to create a brand image was more important to sustain. It is NOT about farming followers, but finding ways to cultivate relationships with its customers was prioritized. And this is when it opened the doors for Digital Marketing & made its new mission to rebuild its crashed market.

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Approach/ Strategies adopted: : A community website powered by software. Designed to mainly collect ideas & feedback from customers. Where other users comment & vote on suggestions on how Starbucks can improve its business. As a sign that the company truly listens to its customers, the site summarizes all of the ideas & reports its progress & implementation.

This idea stroke straight on a right shot with more than 500,000 people has done just that & by making them a part of success, the coffee lovers were brought a step closure to the company.

My-Starbucks-Idea-Success-InfographicWi-Fi Services: Starbucks took it to next level with A prominent effort to be more competitive against local chains like Mc Donald’s, by providing Wi-Fi services. In October 2010, the company made a move to expand its online offerings to customers with the Starbucks Digital Network -A partnership of Starbucks and Yahoo.

Mobile Marketing- MyStarbucks App: In 2009, company began testing mobile app & achieved another digital milestone by launching mobile platform myStarbucks app that allowed users to locate stores.. Early 2011 it took a step further by taking its loyalty program digital with its Card Mobile App, A stored value system in which consumers access pre-paid funds to purchase products at store. Further the app allows its coffee lovers to place their orders, pay & pick up without any wait.

Charity Campaign: In 2012 Starbucks teamed up with Foursquare for a cause that benefited AIDS awareness. From June 1 to 10 Starbucks donated $1 every time someone checked into one of its locations in the US and Canada. Company set a limit of $250,000 on its donation to add to the $10m it has already donated to the RED charity’s fight against AIDS. For its part, Foursquare gave users a special created badge if they took part in the campaign.


Watch this Starbucks video showing its secret behind an Art of blending Coffee to create World’s Finest Flavors:

Tweet-a-Coffee Campaign: In October2013, Starbucks launched a campaign that enabled people to give the gift of a $5 gift card just by putting both ‘@tweetacoffee’ and a friend’s handle in a tweet. The coffee wasn’t free though and in order for it to work, users had to link their Starbucks account to Twitter and their credit card to the account.

As a result, by December-more than 27,000 fans had tweeted a coffee and that 34% of users bought multiple gift cards. Around $180,000 worth of coffee had been bought through the promotion.starbucks-snow-day-hed-2013

#Blizzard-The real time ads- An appreciable example of using social media to execute “ads” in real-time, When a blizzard hit the east coast of America in Feb 2013. Starbucks made its entry showing pictures of people holding nice warm coffee mugs on its social media pages. The ads were formatted in such a way that, when people did online search about the storm, Starbucks’ photos of people drinking coffee would also show up in the results as well.

#TreatReceipt: When #Hashtags started to trend on facebook, Starbucks used it as a right tool to promote a new deal that offered customers a discount in the afternoon if they had already bought a coffee that morning, they tagged announcements of the offer with the hashtag #TreatReceipt.

#ShareTheJoyFacebook-engagement-tactics-share-joy-hashtag #RedCup – 2015 Christmas Contest: Starbucks has tried to position itself in almost every other media. Its Instagram account simply posts interesting images that gives people a view behind the scenes of the company. It also re-posts photos taken by fans that show its coffee cups in different occasions, the recent contest was held on this Christmas.This simple idea is a great way of creating a closer relationship with customers and softening the company image by showing the people behind the product.

Introducing The Starbucks Digital Coffee Passport: For years it has been a beloved tasting guide for Starbucks partners (employees.) The Passport is now available digitally to all coffee lovers around the world. It is a convenient and easy-to-use web app that lets you explore, record, and expand your coffee experiences. Check it out on your mobile device at to start exploring the world of coffee.

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Results achieved:

In June 2010, Starbucks was titled the World’s most popular Social Media Consumer Brand-based on its Facebook fans, Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers, by Famecount of a UK-based independent media measurement service. As a sign of its commitment, the company has reportedly taken all of the money that it used to spend on traditional media outlets and shifted it into digital and social media marketing.

With its ongoing effort to reach more number of Starbucks caffeine addictive followers, the number has now extended to 36 million-Facebook, 11.1 million-Twitter & 7.2 million fans on Instagram ( And that’s a HUGE number!!)


Consumer centrality must be the brands first look before forming any strategies to place the product. With having multiple stores, it is also essential to reach every individual & keep them engaged in all the possible ways that they would want to. Not by implementing a pre defined strategy, but to approach them in a more social manner.

Starbucks tossed the game when it clearly embraced the digital realm. It leveraged the web, social media and the emerging mobile opportunities with a strong presence on multiple sites. It reiterated the fact that Starbucks takes the customers seriously and knows how to leverage digital.

Photo Credits: Wikipedia, Facebook.

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