Love them or hate them, Starbucks has this branding thing down cold.
Don’t believe me? Just look at the corner of the block you live on, or that other corner down the street. Odds are you’ll find at least one, maybe seven Starbucks between here and there.
How has Starbucks done what they’ve done? It’s simple. They’ve created an experience for their customers. Going to Starbucks is more about the experience than it is about the coffee. It’s the bona-fide “third place” of people everywhere – a place we bring our Macbook’s and Moleskine’s to do work, a place to meet with clients, a hang-out to visit with friends. All while sipping our Double Nonfat Vanilla Latte’s.
Starbucks offers a product, but has tapped into the reasons why we go to the coffee shop and has harnessed those experiences in every sip. It’s all a part of their brand and it’s very, very well done.
Today Starbucks announced the triumphant return of the “Red Cup”. I probably don’t need to explain to any of you what that means – in fact many of you are probably holding one right now – but for those of you who have been under a rock for the past 10 years – the “Red Cup” is a symbol for holiday cheer. On the surface it signifies the return of their holiday drinks (I’ll be picking up a Gingerbread Latte later today) – but more importantly, it’s an experience. A little red paper cup invokes emotion that makes people think of the holidays, spending time with family, sitting by the fire, putting up the Christmas tree…
The “Red Cup” has become an icon – almost to the point that the holidays seem lost without it.
As you think about your own brand and your own marketing – think about the emotions you want your customers and clients to feel with every transaction. Think about how you can create a “Red Cup” experience.