Starbucks: Be A Strong Branding Storyteller?

By Bingye CHEN

“Great stories agree with our worldview. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes [them] feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.”

—Seth Godin (Founder of the altMBA)

Nowadays, as consumers’ attention becomes more and more dispersed, and the media environment is getting fragmented, traditional brand marketing has not been effective, knowing how to tell the brand story is more important than ever. Because compared with the facts, consumers are more willing to listen to stories and be impressed by it. Brands can deepen on consumers’ perceptions of brands and build emotional value.

As a leader in the coffee industry, Storytelling is core to Starbucks’ success. Starbucks’ famous “Third Space” upgrade its store to an important place among consumers’ life and it’s really successful. After that, Starbucks still continue to be a strong branding storyteller.


resource: internet

“Meet me at Starbucks”

In 2014, Starbucks launched its first brand marketing campaign – Meet me at Starbucks: an ongoing brand narrative stitching together real-life stories of people meeting together at Starbucks in 28 countries shot in just 24 hours, and shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries. It had created a powerful story platform: Business meetings, New romances, Parent-child moments, Old couples, Creative sharing sessions, Team gatherings, various scenes in this 24 hours, 28 different countries. People play their own stories in this third space. Starbucks aligned this with their campaign slogan, “Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time[2].”

source: Youtube

After that, Starbucks edited these videos into a documentary and uploaded it to YouTube. This campaign imposes the property of Starbucks’ “third space” and strengthens Starbucks not only as a cup of coffee but also as an emotional link between people and the person who they care about.

source: Starbucks UPSTANDAERS

Starbucks USA: Launching the Storytelling Platform:  Upstanders

Starbucks Upstanders is a collection of short stories celebrating ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. These stories of courage and humanity remind people that we all have the power to make a difference[3]. Over the past two seasons, the viewership of video on Upstanders platform has exceeded 70 million, which is very successful to earn media to Starbucks. Starbucks always put human social emotions first and puts its products in the second place. By establishing such a platform, Starbucks hopes that people believe in the power of faith, the beauty of humanity, and hope that people love their lives more.

‘The stories further cement the relationship between the brand and its loyal customers. At the same time, it attracts new customers who might see the brand in a different light. It’s a win-win-win: Good for the community, good for the country and good for the company’. [1]

‘Humans relate to story. If they can be moved by powerful stories, funny stories, inspiring stories, stories that bring joy into their hearts or get them to see things differently, they will develop a deeper affinity to a brand.’— Chandrasekaran (SVP, Starbucks)


[1] Carmine Gallo, Starbucks’ Cool New Brew: Storytelling With A Digital Twist, 2017






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