Starbucks Communication Strategies – More Than Just a Cup of Coffee †

By Krishna, Chethana G. | IUP Journal of Soft Skills, September 2018 | Go to article overview

Starbucks Communication Strategies – More Than Just a Cup of Coffee †


Krishna, Chethana G., IUP Journal of Soft Skills


Introduction

Hootsuite, the widely used social media platform in partnership with We Are Social, a global social media agency, conducted a survey on 'Social Media and Digital Trends' across the world in 2016 and released the report 'Digital in 2017'1 on January 24, 2017. According to the study,

* Global Internet penetration stood at 3.77 billion users' or covered 50% of the world population.

- There were 2.80 billion social media users or 37% of the population, 2.56 billion users were using mobiles to access social media which meant 34% penetration.

- 83% of Americans had a social media account.

As per the study conducted by Jahn and Kunz2 , there are three main motivation areas for consumers to use social networking sites.

* A relationship area, where the focus of the individual is to stay connected and interact with others and participate in a social (online) life.

* Content acquisition and distribution based on the individuals' interests.

* Self-presentation, which is related to the social context and for self-assurance and personal identity.

When it comes to business, brands and marketing,3

* It was observed that 48% of Americans had interacted with one company or institution over social media. Among those, 28% preferred to connect with the brand or company first through social media rather than visiting a physical store, 59% of Americans agreed that customer service via social media had become easier.

* Facebook was considered number one as it had 1.65 billion users in 2016; nearly 50 million businesses had Facebook pages, 2 million advertisers used Facebook to market their brands and nearly 32% of Facebook users were engaged with brands regularly.

* Instagram had the highest per follower engagement rate at 2.3% in comparison with other social media networks; Instagram had 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, with an order value at $65 from Instagram versus $55 from Facebook. A significant 68% of Instagram users engaged with brands regularly.

This means that the Internet has complemented consumers to engage with brands. The traditional one-to-many customer approach is evolving into a one-to-one approach through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Social media networks have changed the traditional customer-company relationship in many ways and companies cannot remain ignorant of this new channel of marketing communication. Businesses are trying to recognize, research and explore the opportunities for brand building through customer engagement from the fan pages in these virtual networks. Marketing managers are attempting to integrate their traditional marketing with social networks as part of their marketing mix.

The contemporary shopper is furthermore involved in conversations on social media, is well informed and looks for reviews, comments and recommendations for making a purchase or for service delivery. The avant-garde consumer expects the brands to listen to his/her needs and fulfill them. The buyer is not merely looking for sales promotions but aspires for a real-time engagement and customer service through posts, articles, games, etc. These virtual environments have also enabled the consumers to form communities across specific brands and share their interests, exchange information or knowledge or merely express their loyalty. Companies have identified the significance of these authentic conversations and have set up social media command centers to engage the customers through live RSS feeds of their new products or events. Some of the companies that have set up these command centers are Dell, Cisco and PepsiCo's Gatorade to name a few.4

This direct communication between the company and the consumer has helped the companies to develop new products, influence and promote sales, obtain feedback, engage the customer, improve brand loyalty and ultimately gain brand reputation across these social networks. …

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