May 9, 2024

Starbucks: Connecting People through Coffee

Written by Clodagh O’Brien

When people consider getting a coffee, many think of ‘Starbucks’ with its iconic green mermaid logo. Indeed, Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world and operates in nearly 80 countries. In the United States, 40% of coffee shops are Starbucks.

That’s not bad for a company that started in a farmers’ market in Seattle in 1971! While Starbucks is famous for its coffee, it’s also envied by many brands and marketers for its innovative ability to promote, engage, and stay front of mind with customers. 

The company is listed 16th on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies and 72nd on America’s Most Innovative Companies list.       

Over the years, Starbucks has embraced technology (mobile and artificial intelligence) and used marketing channels to drive brand awareness, get customer insights, and create loyal customers. 

It has also pioneered corporate social responsibility in the industry, a core element of the business that many brands are trying to replicate to cater for consumers who now demand authenticity and transparency. 

But there have been controversies along with a loss in value ($11 billion in 2023) and poor sales. Allegations of anti-pride sentiment, boycotts, firings in its stance against unions, and allegations of being anti-competitive (by buying out competitors’ leases) have hurt the brand’s reputation.    

In this case study, we'll look at how Starbucks has evolved over the past five decades to be one of the most talked-about and successful brands in the world.

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Clodagh O’Brien
Clodagh O’Brien

Clodagh O'Brien is a content creator and strategist. Over the last 12 years, she has created and managed content for many SMEs and global brands. She's passionate about digital marketing and the impact of technology on culture and society. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.  

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