This post continues my series of posts outlining current TV commercials and what makes them so excellent from a public relations perspective. Next up: “Starbucks: Here’s to Sue/You”
I talked about Starbucks’ new logo and brand a few months ago, and their newest set of commercials complements their new look. Starbucks has long been known for their customer-centered practices, “perfectly handcrafting” each drink for each customer. Customization is their currency. It’s how the company can get customers to spend more money on their coffee than they would anywhere else — it might be expensive, but it’s probably the only place on the block where the barista make you a tall vanilla latte with skim milk steamed to 360 degrees with an extra shot of sugar-free vanilla syrup, with a smile on her face.
Despite whether or not you like Starbucks or their products, most people can agree that they’ve created a successful business model, one focused on each individual patron. Here are three ways that Starbucks has fostered this success from a public relations standpoint:
1. Excellent employee relations: Starbucks’ employees are “people’s people,” as one blogger puts it. They are willing to give their customers that milkshake moment and to provide whatever the customer wants. The job description of an ideal barista candidate is someone who will “create uplifting experience for the people who visit our stores and make perfect beverages — one drink and one person at a time.” The company actively searches and hiring top “front line” employees, recognizing that these employees (not only the ones in top management) are the true Starbucks ambassadors for the customers that enter their retail stores. If the employees are friendly, competent ambassadors, customers will likely feel at home and continue to come back.
2. Customized customer relations: Each customer who walks into Starbucks is almost guaranteed a customized experience. If you’re unsure what you want, a barista is there to give you tips and advice on which drink may be best suited for you. The customer is Starbucks’ key public, and the company is there to serve each individual customer. Who doesn’t like something being all about them? In our “me”-driven society, Starbucks capitalizes on this individualism to produce a positive experience each time a customer enters the door.
3. Responsible corporate citizenry: As in my previous post on the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR), Starbucks strives to be a responsible corporate citizen. From the coffee they buy to their environmentally-friendly practices (no more coffee sleeves unless you ask!), the company positions itself as a globally responsible and friendly corporation. Because customers (and employees) see Starbucks as a socially responsible entity, they can feel good about purchasing their customized coffee there, knowing “Right now, it’s all about me, but Starbucks cares about my community too.”
So, here’s to you, Starbucks, a company focused on each employee, each customer, and our world as a whole…