Starbucks Sells Brand Purpose (and Product) with Content

October 7, 2014

Content marketing is sometimes viewed as laying a trail of breadcrumbs for your target buyer. In the beginning, you’re helping potential buyers identify the full scope of their need by educating them on industry trends, others’ needs, and considerations they may have overlooked.

Then, as you move your potential buyer down the sales cycle, it comes to light that not only do your solutions happen to meet all the needs you helped your buyer identify (second stage content) but also have experience making other buyers feel great about their purchase (end stage content). Voila!

Communicating Brand Purpose with Content Marketing

Starbucks has just initiated a new content campaign that highlights another advantage of content marketing: communicating brand purpose. Rather than keeping the conversation on the products and services – which competition can quickly adapt to – brands like Starbucks start talking about the focus and intention of the brand. It seeks to answer, “Why are we here?” for both employees and potential buyers. And Starbucks nails it. (Read more about brand purpose in this article by Forbes.)

Starbucks is a highly recognized, global brand that built an empire around selling coffee. (In fact, their Pumpkin Spice Lattes have transformed how many experience Autumn and pumpkin farming in general.) But, any drink Starbucks invents can eventually be replicated by competitors. Similarly, if the conversation stays around price, Starbucks would find themselves on the defensive: their coffee isn’t cheap, so Starbucks would need to sell on the value of buying their coffee over a competitor’s. While Starbucks is definitely up to the challenge, they zigged where others in the industry would zag.

An Example of Highlighting Brand Purpose

Instead of creating another commercial about the smells of their specialty roasts, the delight of a new seasonal mix, or the good feelings you get buying ethically traded coffee, Starbucks highlighted the brand’s purpose: to “help facilitate human connections,” according to Starbucks’ Chief Marketing Officer, Sharon Rothstein. The new ad features video footage captured in Starbucks stores across the globe, all taken within 24 hours. The theme, “Good things happen when we get together” warms viewers as they watch images of couples, friends, and family share a moment on screen, behind a coffee table.

The ad hints at Starbucks’ ability to not only bring people together, but to create a space for good on a global scale. Read more about the new campaign on WSJ blog here: “Starbucks Reminds Consumers of its Roots.”
You can also view their new ad here:



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