Branding Lessons from Starbucks

Branding Lesson in Fyshwick CanberraWhen someone looks for a local business, they will look for mom and pop stores or the neighbourhood shop. However, global brands are manoeuvring their strategies to become relevant in the hearts and minds of local customers regardless of their culture, city or country. They customise their stores, layouts, service and others to meet the cultural standards of different customers.

A perfect example of a global brand going glocal is Starbucks. The company has a lot to teach you about branding and localising their approach to suit the preferences of various audiences.

Designed for Cultural Nuances

Voodoo Creative, a branding and marketing agency in Melbourne, cites that customising products and services to the local preference allows you to break down cultural barriers and create a memorable brand experience. Starbucks battled a general regional dislike for coffee in China by offering coffee-free drinks such as red bean frappuccino. In some parts of North America, the company tried opening stealth stores that were bereft of the Starbucks branding (the logo and colours) and hosted readings of poetry. They did this to attract potential customers who like to have coffee from independent brands.

Suitable for the Local Customer

The design of the iconic coffee shop adapts to the local consumer, an example is the layout of its stores. In large cities in the U.S., the designs cater to individuals or pairs don’t mind sitting next to a stranger or just come in and buy their beverage and leave. In some parts of Asia, the coffee brand adjusts to cater to larger groups of people, creating an arrangement with movable chairs and tables.

Online to Offline Experience

Part of the Starbucks branding is the seamless experience when a customer moves from online to offline and vice-versa. When customers use their app, they easily find the store with the help of the locator. After choosing a location, they make can make an order and pay using their devices.

Seth Godin offers words of wisdom about branding: ‘a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a customer’s decision to choose one product or service over another’.