Starbucks Using Strategic Communication

You wake up and snooze your alarm. After the 5th snooze you finally roll out of bed to get coffee. Coffee is huge around the world. The industry grows exponentially despite the rise of energy drinks. One of the better known coffee brewers, Starbucks, recently launched their “Race Together” campaign. The campaign has received mixed reviews.

Starbucks is known for trying to promote more than just their coffee. CEO Howard Schultz has already made it openly known that the company is pro marriage equality. This is all part of Starbucks’ branding strategy. They have real prominence in the community and try to contribute to the conversations on controversial subjects. The new #racetogether campaign again shows society where Starbucks stands on another controversial issue, racial equality.

This campaign stirred the pot and had its expected minor repercussions. Some people felt Starbucks had no place to speak on such an issue. Despite what some are saying the campaign was still a success. Starbucks understands the 5 W’s better than a lot of companies. They know their target demographic. They know that their loyal customers also share their views on equality and aren’t afraid to contribute to the conversations. This campaign was successful because Starbucks was strategic in communicating their message.

In order for a campaign to thrive you must focus on the message. The ultimate goal of a campaign is to communicate. That’s exactly what they did with strategic implementation of their equality message through the Social Media Trinity. Through Twitter and Facebook Starbucks communicated right to their loyal target demographic. In speaking to the appropriate audience they seized the opportunity at hand and engaged that audience with the brand. Like all campaigns, Starbucks’ #racetogether aimed for a ROI and is indirectly trying to increase revenue by engaging people with their brand. The real goal of the campaign was to manage the company reputation.

Starbucks was successful in branding the company once again. The campaign was a success because, at the end of the day, the loyal Starbucks coffee drinker was engaged with the brand and understood what Starbucks stands for. With strategic communication through Twitter and Facebook this would have not been possible. If they used inappropriate social networks they would have only communicated their controversial message to an uninterested and angry audience. The “Race Together” campaign may seem like a failure because some lashed out, but it ultimately effectively communicated what the brand stands for. Sounds like social media success to me.


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