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Case Study: Starbucks Social Media Marketing Strategy

With more than 17000 Starbucks stores in the world, spanning throughout 49 countries , and with significantly higher prices than the market average, the Starbucks enterprise is a tale of success , and a direct result of a genius social marketing and branding strategy. At the core of the business their signature fresh, dark-roasted, full-flavored coffee brews and beans consorting with specialty teas and blended beverages, the special ambiance, its principles and its sense of connection and community; it’s all about creating the ‘ Starbucks Experience ’, which is the soul of the business, a place to gather, talk and enjoy the allures of their savory brews, a ‘Third Place’ in people’s lives between home and work, for customers to feel perfectly comfortable and imbued with familiarity. Connecting and engaging with the customers is a very important aspect of Starbucks philosophy and one of the reasons why they have been so successful in their social media strategy.

Starbucks Social Media Marketing Strategy

It has been established the company’s conscious efforts towards building a relationship and creating interaction with its customers, but it took the company a few years of trial an error to finally get the formula right and assimilate the prowess of social media. It wasn’t until 2008 that Starbucks finally started to get things right and to follow the path that will endow them with the very impressive feat of becoming the number one brand on Facebook. In 2008 Howard Schultz made a comeback as CEO, refocusing the brand efforts into reigniting the emotional attachment of its customers. The importance of conveying this interaction with the brand into the online arena was brought in by Alexandra Wheeler, who was hired also in 2008 as the Director of Digital Strategy, and responsible of launching the thriving ‘My Starbucks Idea’ website, a social media initiative that promotes the concept that Starbucks is more than just a cup of coffee and refocus the attention on its customers. The company created this portal where Starbucks customers and employees can make suggestions and share ideas to further improve the ‘Starbucks Experience’, ingeniously getting their market to do their marketing and at the same time increasing their involvement with the brand, making them feel as part of the process of the decision making and by extension of Starbucks itself; a form of collaborative creation culture that is incredibly appealing to ‘millennials’, very much aligned with internet culture in general and in some ways similar to Microsoft’s strategy in their Windows 7 campaign “I’m a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea”

Started on October 2008, Starbucks began to actively engaging in social media, official Starbuck Facebook fan page is one of the major social networking sites for the company. Starbucks started to connect in to the cyber world of social media, and that is speak for itself in the number of “Fans” the company is engaging with. Facebook as a social media platform that has incorporates with different types of videos, content, and has active interactive activities with the fans.

Starbucks operates under the company’s objective to “stand as one of the most recognized and respected brands in the world”. The company found a large-scale and interactive way to do that: social media. More than 38 million Facebook page “likes”, 7 million Twitter followers , as well as their own social media site, My Starbucks Idea, Starbucks is looking for innovative and creative ways to connect with customers.

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Starbucks has a small social media team with only six people; however they obtained a high level of engagement with their consumer in social media . On the other hand Starbucks has building social media as a key part in their marketing mix , a stable platform for advertising and promotions . At the same time it creates a centre of attention to attract web traffic to the social networking site fan page with heavy advertising and promotion activities. Alexandra Wheeler stated that, “We live in the physical world with thousands of natural touch points, so when we laid out the vision for our social strategy, it felt like home for the brand. It’s about the relationships we form with our customers.”

The social media marketing strategies that Starbucks are using include special offers, coupons, sapling and discounts distributed through Facebook, because Facebook is the main social networking site for Starbucks. In the year 2008 Starbucks promoted the world’s biggest Facebook ad campaign that including Facebook members in 16 that will be served ads for a Starbucks charity sing along of The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ when user log in. Starbucks undertook the biggest global Facebook ad campaign the purpose is to raise awareness of the project, which was a celebration of its partnership with Project Red, the charity with the aim to fights Aids in Africa. This particular campaign has invited people to take part in stores which Starbucks donated a percentage of the cost of each selected product sold. The social media campaign that carries out this initiative received as the “most viral impression ever”; result of millions of people aware of the Facebook digital invitation which given respond. Promotion event on Facebook by Starbucks with the title of “Free Pastry Day” promotion allowing exclusively for Facebook fans of Starbucks to print out the online version of coupons for complimentary item with a drink purchase. Through this particular event in July 2009 it further added 200,000 fans just in a week. In the same year, by promoting the launch of the branded ice cream, Starbucks offering coupons for free pints via the Facebook application. Besides, Starbucks also used Facebook to promote a “Taste Challenge” together with the launch of Starbucks VIA instant coffee, offering participants with a free cup of Starbucks’ coffee will be given on their next purchase and discount of USD 1 with the VIA instant coffee purchase.

Starbucks successful created high level of attention throughout the product promotion on Facebook with encouraging results. Traditional direct marketing practices for example offering discount and promotion are the keys on building engagement on social networking sites moderately focusing on to create deeper relationship and connection to a brand. CEO of social media management firm ViTrue, Mr. Reggie Bradford illustrious that Starbucks has the advantage on take in charge and managing all the Starbucks stores, provide an easier way to run standardized marketing programs that team up with Facebook.

More significantly, Starbucks well manage with various types of updates that content, and interesting that includes blog articles and videos sharing that cover all aspects of coffee that includes how to grow coffee beans, pieces of writing about Starbucks and Starbucks employees. The tone and pitch of the updates is informative and relaxed, in addition even on their own product updates are kept in a wide-range that enough to remain interesting, for example, by offering and introduction up reviews of new music and books to be displace and for sale in their cafes. Therefore, the well managed and quality status update content has achieved a very engaged fan base, with every update on the social networking site will receive thousands of feedbacks and comments.

One of the typical platforms that make Starbucks so popular on the social media front is the concept My Starbucks Idea. It is a channel that allows customers to share any comments or suggestions on how to improve the overall Starbucks experience. Although many people may have the idea, which is crucial, because of how these concepts are selected, so that they keep existing customers and attract new. My Starbucks Idea is that the consumer portal, Starbucks customers can share ideas or suggestions on how to improve the “Starbucks experiences”. The site allows users to see the recommendations put forward by others, vote on ideas, and check out the results. One of the purposes is to find these ideas to better serve existing customers and help them get new ones. This site is an important aspect of Starbucks social media marketing strategy. Users who are parts of the network feel they are parts of a certain role in the company’s decision-making processes. In the My Starbucks Idea campaign it was important to have an application that allowed any person to access with the internet. It was important to keep the technology simple in order for people of any age to access it and add to it. The My Starbucks Idea was an extension of the website; it was a simple page with simple instructions. With the My Starbucks Idea platform, Starbucks wanted a greater interaction with their customer. Not only did Starbucks change their relationship with the customer, they created a collaborative environment between the customers to comment and vote about each idea, thus, providing a trusting relationship and building communication to further the brand.

Starbucks has a YouTube channel and contains different video assets. They have coffee blend of advertising, information. They also have some of their charitable work of video assets. Over 4900 subscribers Starbucks YouTube channel. They explained the different coffee mixed origin and their charitable work video upload video ads and promotional videos. They can also upload videos to showcase their history, so that people can be more involved in the brand.

Success of Social Media Strategies

Following by reviewing the successful social media marketing strategies that used by Starbucks and the way the coffee giant fully utilized the opportunities of social media to create an interactive and interesting business approve. The level of engagement of a brand in social media will bring different level of success. As Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks said “We’re not just selling a cup of coffee, we are providing an experience”. This implies that customers’ satisfaction is given top priority. In order to do so Starbucks serve coffee with great taste and quality. Not only quality the treatment of customer is excellent and the variety of beverages served is good. Based on the principle of providing an experience to the customers social media is a latest and most advance technology in communicate that can be personalize between the company and their customers. Coffee house giant Starbucks continue to develop its social media operations in attempt to extend its relationship with its end users. The reason for advertisers using social media is to “go where consumers are and to provide a valuable and meaningful brand experience,” according to Alexandra Wheeler. Although the challenges of the economic downturn, Starbucks posted profits of $242m in Q4 2009, as revenues rose 4%, to £1.7 billion, mostly as a result of improved Starbucks store sales.

Social network is all about building a community around the brands and the products, promoting, sharing and discussion. Get involved in the social network regularly, completely understand the content and focused to the topic is being said amongst the social network community, and the targeted audience before engaging. Based on the number of people involved has created a strong awareness outcome at the same time it had increase the sales at the period of time. The result on social media has the similarity outcome with the advertising objective that can be achieve through the social networking site.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks stated that “the global economic recession has very much shaken consumer confidence and retailers which wish to stay relevant in the future will have no choice but to recognize and respond to this new reality and to continue and to accelerate. Starbucks current direction with continue to improve, innovate, and focus on strengthening the relationship with their customers.”

Starbucks persist as one of the brand that gains most popularity on Facebook, with sites now launched globally in 14 countries. In 2009 the consultancy company Altimeter Group, positioned Starbucks is of the brands make good use of the web properties, and Schultz stated that they would be integral to its operations going forward. “The importance of our social media expertise continues to grow, and we evolve the conversation with our core customers.” Engaging with the millions of consumers through social media is a success. Multi-step flow is the extension of two step flow theory. A strong multi-step flow and personal influence model being involved in the process. The potency of word of mouth that can give a depth of credibility other form of communication cannot. Because of the nature of social media, the process of opinions and comments flow around in the social media, at the same time the social media management team will be able to monitor and provide instant reply.

Starbucks brand, content and online vice president Chris Bruzzo, told “It’s like we’ve taken the version 1.0 of last year and now they are really doing it at scale and going to a lot more places where their customers already are and people are saying this is going to be a big year for social media and they are a microcosm of that. While last year it was a curiosity, this year it’s a core part of the program.”

Syncapse Consultancy Company conducted a survey in an effort to gain understanding of the long term business value that generate by social network, based on twenty most popular corporate users actively engaging in social network that includes Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonald’s , Dove, Gillette , Nokia , Nike, Victoria’s Secret and Red Bull. The result found out that consumers who “like” a product in the Facebook feature were found to spend £93 a year on the item in question, $71.84 more than the shoppers who have not performed the action. Starbucks is one of the brands that scores at least 80% in the category of building “empathy” among their fans. Besides, the products of Starbucks scored over 90% associated with the feeling consumers that result in “warm”, “gratified” or “happy”. The result in the survey illustrate that long term brand value can be build by using the social network, independent social network campaign should be taken to increase the value of their company through their fan.

The involvement of social media has became a importance role in achieving this aim, one of the Starbucks campaigns join together with Project Red to help promote fight AIDS in Africa, which was promoted using social media Facebook, where Starbucks has more than 5.5 million “fans” in end of 2009 that became the most popular brand second by Coca-cola and does not take long for Starbucks to achieved 10 million Facebook fan in July 2010. Schultz mentions that the effort of creating the world largest campaign ever on the Facebook social media platform is further strengthens Starbucks unique connection with their customers. Alexandra Wheeler stated that the campaign has became the most viral event in the history of Facebook and meant that this not only were trigger customers excited about the Starbucks at the same time the customer also came together on one day to accomplish something excellent. Take as a whole; she asserted that Facebook helps them get a pulse on the important to their customers. The organization can have a direct communication dialog with their customers about the values and ideals that they gained and share the valuable experience with them.

Starbucks social media marketing strategy consists of many different elements masterfully integrated and combined, involving millions of loyal fans boosting their branding. It was one of the first companies to adopt and take advantage of Twitter ‘Promoted Tweets’ and, currently, one of the most tweeted brands; at least until the Old Spice campaign took internet by storm. At Starbucks they are aware of the cultural influence of Twitter, “If it doesn’t happen on Twitter it probably doesn’t matter” said Brad Nelson, ex-barista and current social media strategist responsible for Starbucks Twitter account. Looking at the way other brands, like competitor Dunkin Donuts , have to interact with their followers, clear differences in the style are perceived and probably the reason why Starbucks has over seven million Twitter followers and Dunkin Donuts just about 87,000. But is not only about Twitter, they know that they have to keep their content relevant and adding value without overloading across platforms, nurturing the organic connections that the digital media promotes, delivering a personal experience, galvanizing customers over a shared idea.

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starbucks social media marketing case study

Decoding the Success of Starbucks: A Social Media and Digital Marketing Marketing Case Study

starbucks social media marketing case study

By Aditya Shastri

starbucks social media marketing case study


Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The company operates in over 30,000 locations in 70 countries worldwide as of early 2020.

This blog is an in-depth analysis of Starbucks’ marketing strategies, complete with touching upon their target market, social media strategy, Starbucks’ marketing mix, digital marketing presence, campaigns, and their marketing efforts through the ongoing pandemic.

About the Company

As the world’s largest coffee-house chain, Starbucks is seen to be the main representation of the United States’ second wave of coffee culture. Starbucks coffee houses serve-

  • Hot and cold drinks
  • Whole-bean coffee
  • Microground instant coffee known as VIA
  • Caffe lattes
  • Full- and loose-leaf teas including Teavana tea products
  • Evolution Fresh juices
  • Frappuccino beverages
  • La Boulange pastries
  • Snacks including items such as chips and crackers
  • And also some offerings which are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store.

In 2010, the company began its Starbucks Reserve program for single-origin coffees and high-end coffee shops. It planned to open 1,000 Reserve coffee shops by the end of 2017. Starbucks operates six roasteries with tasting rooms and 43 coffee bars.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - About the Company - Starbucks

Let us now get to know how Starbucks made a mark for itself in the Indian market.

Starbucks In India

In the 2010s, Starbucks was keen on entering the Indian market. The company wanted to capitalize on the rise of coffee culture by targeting the niche upper-class segment in India. In 2007, it announced its entry in India but withdrew without any explanation. It was in 2011 that Starbucks finally made a grand entry into the market.

When the world’s biggest bistro chain wanted to enter the Indian market, they entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Asia’s largest coffee grower, Tata Consumer Products Limited.

After successfully launching their brand, the next important step in ensuring they were here to stay, was to nail their target audience.

Starbucks Target Market

Starbucks is a premium coffee brand; its customers are mainly from the upper economic segment or the upper middle class and upper class. The brand targets people who want a peaceful space to drink coffee and lose stress. These are mostly the higher wage-earning professionals, business owners, or other higher-end customers in the 22-50 age group. People with a fast-moving lifestyle want good quality coffee and some space to relax after a hectic day. Starbucks offers all these privileges in a single place. The target audience of Starbucks includes both male and female customers, and a large bunch of these customers are mainly in the 25-45 age group. Mainly the urban, health-conscious, and class-conscious consumers. The truth is, the company has done so well by knowing exactly who its target audience is at any point in time and going all-out to cater to those set of people.

So summed up, their target audience is-

  • High-income spenders
  • Urban-ish, on the go
  • Technology early adopters
  • Health-conscious professionals
  • Flexible to change
  • Reaching Beyond the storefront

Now that we understand their foundation and business, let’s finally begin to uncover the marketing strategies that have led to Starbucks becoming the giant it is today.

Marketing Strategies of Starbucks

Initially, Starbucks’ marketing mix in India was segmenting consumer markets on a socio-economic basis. Concentrating on working professionals and their need for a soothing workspace. Starbucks also segments its market on a geographic and demographic basis by setting up the stores where they can find their target audience mentioned above. Most companies enter a new market by focusing on a single segment, and if they happen to achieve some success, branch out into more segments. Starbucks did the same and now caters to teenagers and young adults as well, by developing its product range and social media marketing presence.

Starbucks’ marketing mix has helped the brand develop a unique market position for its products, where it’s about the brand’s overall differentiated experience. They have positioned themselves as a highly reputed brand. The company’s marketing mix, to target the modern, tech-savvy generation, has also grown the use of digital technology as well as social media for promotions and customer engagement.

Digital Expansion

One of Starbucks’ key priorities is to expand its digital interactions with customers. To do so, it is implementing new ways to attract digitally registered customers beyond the rewards program. For example, the coffee chain is offering mobile order services and leveraging Wi-Fi sign-ins at its brick-and-mortar stores.

Starbucks Social Media Strategy

Most people are familiar with Starbucks on social media. The company’s many social media accounts are known for their distinctive branding, interactive posts, and visually pleasing content. The diverse range of content includes recipes, photography, articles and features. But there’s more than meets the eye. The stream of content can be broken down into a series of campaigns geared at creating a greater sense of brand awareness and community.

Starbucks Product-based Marketing Campaigns

Starbucks focuses on promoting unique and fan-favorite beverages. The brand knows how popular their flagship items are, but more importantly, they know their audience craves this kind of content. They’ve even created social accounts for customers’ favourites -Pumpkin Spiced Latte and Frappuccino- where they push relevant and relatable memes to their die-hard audience. This is also where user-generated content (UGC) comes in. Consumer images of the more Instagrammable products, such as the Unicorn Frappuccino, are often selected to be re-shared via the official channels and also used in influencer campaigns.

Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility-based campaign

Starbucks uses social change as a marketing tool, positioning itself as open-minded and inclusive. One example is the #ExtraShotOfPride campaign that supports the LGBT+ community.

Community-based campaigns

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Marketing Strategies of Starbucks - Community-based campaigns

Another facet of Starbucks’ digital strategy is its emphasis on highlighting individuals and communities. Take a look at the #RedCupArt campaign, which not only increases engagement but also provides them with a library of UGC content. They use storytelling to show acts of courage and kindness in American communities, localizing the content. Starbucks puts in conscious efforts to humanize the company by sharing stories on their account which highlights the employees who play an essential role especially when consumers are distrustful of big brands. This sense of community also makes online coffee content social, very similar to how they practically invented the modern coffeehouse culture back in the day.

Festive Marketing

Starbucks has also initiated a new seasonal whole-bean coffee, #StarbucksDiwaliBlend, for their consumers across the country and select global markets. The latest exquisite blend is hand-picked and sourced from Tata Estates in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Starbucks Diwali Blend is intended as a tribute to the region’s rich and cultural coffee heritage and expertise.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Marketing Strategies of Starbucks - Festive Marketing

Starbucks Digital Marketing Presence

Starbucks knows its audience is technologically advanced, which makes it imperative for them to have a strong digital marketing strategy. It’s clear how Starbucks prefers marketing on platforms where they have two-way communication instead of platforms like print and television which is more of one-way communication.

  • Instagram – 248K+ followers
  • Facebook – 1.1M+ likes
  • Twitter – 161K+ followers
  • Starbucks posts daily on its social media handles and comes up with challenges and games to engage its customers and increase its fan base
  • The posts and engagement are consistent through all platforms and believe in creating an experience as compared to just a promotion channel

The recent Flipkart Starbucks twitter battle was an example of how active and fun a brand like Starbucks is and shows exactly why the brand is sought after with its target audience, especially the millennials. Outside of campaigns, they show numerous images on their platforms of friends and family enjoying drinks of Starbucks coffee together, interspersed with high-quality content that promotes seasonal products. By doing this, Starbucks has integrated itself into consumers’ social life.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Starbucks Digital Marketing Presence

Marketing During Covid-19

We are all aware of how suddenly the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world. All businesses, globally, were hit overnight. And had to figure out how to sustain themselves in these unprecedented times. The pandemic definitely impacted the Indian market heavily but Starbucks constantly improvised to mitigate the economic impact. A case study in itself, these were the steps taken by the coffee giant during the pandemic which proves why it’s the most valued –

CEO Navin Gurnaney announced that they are launching drive-thrus to encourage people to engage with them, and home delivery to make sure they are connected with their customers during the pandemic. The first drive-thru was at Ambala Chandigarh Expressway in Zirakpur. They have also launched their app – Starbucks India App so that customers can easily navigate and purchase their offerings.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Marketing During Covid-19 - Expansion

Starbucks Social Media Campaigns.

#reconnectwithstarbucks campaign.

Starbucks launched its social media campaign in 2 phases. The first phase was where they asked their customers to share their ways of reconnecting amidst the pandemic and share their favourite Starbucks memory on their personal Instagram handles with the hashtag #ReconnectWithStarbucks.

In the second phase- “Half Cup Full”- they asked their customers to comment on their favourite beverage on the post. They then sent these customers voice notes of baristas hollering the customers’ names along with their favourite beverage to remind them of the famous in-store experience.

This was a great campaign as it not only reminded the people of all the good memories with Starbucks but also made them feel important and valued.

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Starbucks Social Media Campaigns

#StarbucksAtHome and #StarbucksDance

Starbucks launched 1 litre of freshly brewed beverages that could be bought via take-away or ordering through Swiggy and Zomato. 7 flavours were launched at the price of Rs.550 per bottle.

To promote the same, Starbucks launched the #StarbucksDance challenge where it asked its customers to shoot a dance video with the drink and upload them on their personal stories. They promised a year of free Starbucks for the winner.

Strategic Alliances to enhance the experience and reach

Signature merchandise launch with flipkart.

The pandemic caused a great shift in how people shop and also encouraged people to shop for home-grown products as compared to imported or foreign-based products. Starbucks used this shift to partner with Flipkart, to launch Starbucks Signature Merchandise on the online platform. The product range included custom mugs, tumblers, cold cups, and more. Customers can also soon order coffee brewing equipment from the comfort of their own homes. Starbucks operated in 12 cities only and hence, this was a strategic move to reach out to customers pan India at their homes during the pandemic while taking advantage of the growing dependence on E-Commerce

Starbucks Marketing Strategy Case Study - Strategic Alliances to enhance experience and reach

Standup Comedy Festival

Starbucks recently announced the #StarbucksComedyFestival where few lucky customers can win a free invitation to the comedy festival. The lucky codes would be present on the customer’s invoice. With a popular line-up of hosts like Sapan Verma, Azeem Banatwalla and Rahul Subramanian, customers will now be enthusiastic to shop more at Starbucks and stand a chance to win the invitation.

In conclusion, Starbucks is leading the market because of its dominating global presence and leadership. A consumer’s experience at a Starbucks location is arguably different from any other coffee shop because of its intimate atmosphere, welcoming environment, and unmatched service. Their inviting “ideal coffee shop ambience” should prove to be a sustainable competitive advantage. Starbucks’ implemented strategy of retail locations and on-site partnerships have received greater response rates, giving them the leading seat within the mature industry. Starbucks, thus, has a strong market position through its all-inclusive marketing strategy.

If you liked our analysis of Starbucks’ marketing strategy, be sure to check out the series of case studies on various other companies’ strategies written by our students. IIDE makes its students capable to analyse and curate such campaigns and studies. If you would like to gain these skills yourself, IIDE offers various digital marketing courses for people just like you. Start your journey in upskilling yourself today!

Thank you for reading!

starbucks social media marketing case study

Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs...... [Read full bio]

Yusuf Motorwala

Clicking on the image of the Starbucks cup is my thing too. This blog provides great and deep insights into their strategy.

Manamika Mainali

Starbucks marketing strategy brewed! served! and I’m here for it!

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[Brand Analysis] Starbucks on Social Media - The Marketing Tactics Behind the Brand’s Social Popularity

[Brand Analysis] Starbucks on Social Media - The Marketing Tactics Behind the Brand’s Social Popularity

A strategy analysis of Starbucks' social media reveals the marketing tactics behind the brand's huge success on social media. Discover more here!

Elena Cucu

When it comes to brands that are killing it on social media, Starbucks certainly makes the cut for the runway in pretty much every social media user’s mind.

With millions of fans across all its social networks, Starbucks is a brand that takes social media marketing very seriously, thus investing heavily in creating a social presence aligned with the brand’s image.

But what are - more specifically - those marketing tactics that got Starbucks’ nowadays social media success and turned it into one of the most idolized brands of all time?

Let’s dive in!

Deconstructing Starbucks' social media strategy

1. starbucks on tiktok.

  • The brand stands out through its heavy use of seasonal marketing
  • Starbucks highlights the brand's human factor by featuring real people in its TikTok videos

2. Starbucks on Instagram

  • The brand's strongest point on social is its highly aesthetic sense - with each visual fitting into a certain feed theme
  • Starbucks embraces content diversity

3. Starbucks and its YouTube Shorts - the 'To Be Human Campaign'

4. Key takeaways from Starbucks' social media marketing strategy

  • Starbucks leverages storytelling to create a sense of relatability

Starbucks’ social media marketing strategy is particularly unique. A differentiator tactic used by the brand that contributed to its incredible success on social was its heavy use of seasonal marketing .

By crafting social posts, campaigns , and products specially designed for different seasons, holidays, or events, Starbucks creates a sense of urgency that drives its social communities to take action sooner rather than later in trying its drinks and deals.

@starbucks We’re getting red-y… ❤️🎄 #Starbucks #Holidays #HolidayDrinks ♬ Happy Holidays - Starbucks

When looking at Starbucks’ TikTok content , it rapidly gets obvious the brand’s TikTok strategy is centered around the human factor.

Thanks to its idea of featuring real humans in most of its TikTok videos, Starbucks succeeded in creating a strongly humanized presence through its TikTok account.

With authenticity being so paramount in TikTok marketing, this was a really smart move.

@starbucks 10/10 would recommend all 5 drinks. #GuessTheDrinkChallenge #HolidayDrinks #Starbucks ♬ original sound - Starbucks

From a rather more technical perspective, in terms of a content planning strategy, on TikTok, Starbucks posts every two days and integrates into its captions three to four hashtags on average.


PS: to get an in-depth hashtag analysis and TikTok metrics for your account (as shown above), or data about your competitor's TikTok channels, check out Socialinsider's TikTok analytics feature !

With Instagram being the coolest social media platform until recent times, Starbucks invested a lot of marketing resources into its Instagram marketing efforts, trying to accomplish a picture-perfect feed and presence.

That - one must admit - the brand nailed it.

Truth be told, Starbucks’ aesthetic sense is hard to top - which is one of the main reasons social media users have fallen for Starbucks’ Instagram.

Speaking of aesthetics, one notable strategy the brand has for organizing its Instagram content is to create chromatic themes and seasons - aligning its online visual journey with its sales strategy.


Besides its cheering content, Starbucks also likes to lighten up its community’s spirits with emojis integrated into its Instagram captions - for a lighter-to-digest message and a friendlier tone that would encourage more engagement .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks)

Last but not least, in terms of content strategy for Instagram, Starbucks has chosen a mix of single images and Reels .

This is a smart move as, on the one hand, the brand sticks to what it's good at (gaining the user's attention with catchy visuals) while altogether adapting to the new trend of video consumption and playing by the platform's algorithm rules.

In terms of posting frequency - Starbucks posts daily on Instagram.

Probably for having a more consolidated audience on Instagram, Starbucks still invests more in Instagram marketing compared to TikTok, with Instagram still being the most engaging channel for the brand.


3. Starbucks and its YouTube Shorts - the "To Be Human Campaign"

Starbucks has always been a visionary brand - that quickly adapted to the trends and wowed the world with its creativity and ingeniosity while doing it.

And the way the brand has leveraged video content on social media - everyone’s new obsession - is no exception.

If Starbucks joined TikTok even from the earlier days and also started to make use of Reels for a while now, with YouTube Shorts - the latest launched short-form video feature, things are a bit different.

Actually, Starbucks just recently started creating content for that particular platform and did it in its characteristic way, meaning with a twist.


When comparing the brand’s TikTok videos with its Reels and now YouTube Shorts, one will notice Starbucks has a very distinctive approach to the content created.

But hey, when you know your audience and you're swimming in creativity, the sky is the limit.

While on TikTok and Instagram Reels, Starbucks adopted a more fun vibe, with its YouTube Shorts, Starbucks chose a more inspirational, somehow emotional approach.

Starbucks’ YouTube Shorts form a series called “To Be Human” and portrays different customers interviewed in various locations that share a bit of their life journey, with their ups and downs - as human life always has.

So far, these videos have raised millions of views, showcasing what we already knew - when it comes to marketing and digital content - Starbucks is a genius brand.

How long this series will last, or what other concepts will Starbucks leverage for its YouTube Shorts, is hard to tell - but one thing is sure: they will be memorable.

As trends come and go and the buyer’s journey continues to change, it’s imperative for businesses looking to shine and top their competitors to adapt to the new customer’s needs and preferences.

Especially now - given the many shifts on the horizon for the social media sphere, coming from TikTok’s growing popularity - there’s a great opportunity for brands to get in front of their targeted audiences and wow them with some creative magic.

While content formats evolve and new ones are worth trying, the most important pillar of a successful social media strategy is its core concept, around which all the messages will be created.

Let’s take Starbucks’ example. First and foremost, the brand’s primary aim for its social media activity is to be relatable and facilitate a personal relationship with its audiences.

This is, if you ask me, the very reason Starbucks’ social media strategy is so successful. Because it focuses on the customers' experiences.

Through skillful usage of storytelling , Starbucks shows how its products effortlessly integrate into the lives of its clients while equally making them a part of the brand's story.


Final thoughts

One of the primary reasons for Starbucks' social media success is the way they construct its brand image around both itself and its audience.

Starbucks’ marketing strategy is entirely aligned with the brand’s mission - that of inspiring and nurturing the human spirit.

Overall, Starbucks is a brand that extends its social media presence way further than solely product promotion, being focused on rather emphasizing the Starbucks lifestyle, which is known for its sense of belongingness and inclusion.

Elena Cucu

Content Manager @ Socialinsider

Content & SEO Manager @ Socialinsider with 8 years of experience in marketing. I like to describe myself as a social butterfly with a curious mind, passionate about dancing and psychology.

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starbucks social media marketing case study

Starbucks Social Media Strategy: Insights into Viral Campaigns

How does Starbucks create a presence of different social media networks?

In this post, we will take a well-rounded look at Starbucks’ social media marketing strategy, the different kinds of posts it shares and the kind of engagement they get.

Here’s a look at Starbucks’ main account and follower counts.

  • Instagram: 18 million followers
  • Facebook: 36300608 likes (34005 talking about this · 1030419 were here)
  • Twitter: 172.3k followers
  • LinkedIn:  2659357 followers
  • TikTok: 10.3 million likes, 2.3 million followers
  • YouTube: 374K subscribers 669 videos

They also have several sub accounts that exist as spin offs from their popular drinks.

  • Uses multiple content formats
  • Engages with the audience
  • Follows viral trends
  • Social listening
  • Shares product updates
  • Builds customer relationships
  • Offers customer support
  • Provides social proof

Table of Contents

1. Leveraging user-generated content

2. engaging with customers through interactive content, 3. creating social media campaigns, 4. influencer collaboration for brand advocacy, 5. monitoring and responding to customer feedback, 1. starbucks and facebook, 2. starbucks on tiktok, 3. starbucks on instagram, 4. starbucks and youtube , 5. starbucks and twitter, starbucks is always in the news, 1. why is starbucks so successful on social media, 2. how does starbucks nail digital storytelling, 3. how has starbucks used social media to increase sales, 4. what are the three main marketing strategies starbucks uses, key takeaways from starbucks’ social media marketing strategy.

Trends always come and go. But they also make an impact on buyers’ journeys. It’s important for businesses to adapt to current customer needs and preferences.

Given shifts in the social media space and TikTok’s raging popularity overtaking some of the de facto leaders, there are even more avenues for brands to get in front of their audience now more than before.

New content formats keep evolving with fresh ones always giving you a chance to try and experiment with.

Starbucks’ social media strategy is unique because it’s built around customers’ experiences. Through storytelling, Starbucks showcases products effortlessly and integrates these products into clients’ lives.


Starbucks encourages its customers to share their experiences through user-generated content (UGC). They actively promote hashtags, such as #StarbucksLove, and feature UGC on their social media channels.

This strategy not only strengthens the bond with customers but also provides a platform for fans to showcase their creativity and loyalty. This helps even more people relate to Starbucks.

Starbucks uses interactive content to engage with its audience. They create polls, quizzes, and contests to encourage active participation.

By involving their customers, Starbucks creates a sense of involvement and fosters a stronger connection. Anybody could use this strategy. You don’t have to be a B2C company.

Starbucks designs captivating social media campaigns to generate buzz and attract attention. Whether it’s seasonal promotions, new product launches, season specials or even a cause-related campaign, they develop compelling content surrounding these products and leverage influencers to amplify the content’s reach.

These campaigns help Starbucks generate excitement and engagement among its followers. To automate this, you will need a social media management software.

Starbucks collaborates with influencers to enhance its brand advocacy. They vet influencers who align with their brand values and have a significant following.

By partnering with influencers, Starbucks extends its reach to new audiences and benefits from the influencers’ credibility and influence over their online audience.

Starbucks understands the importance of actively listening to its customers on social media. They monitor their social media channels to address customer queries, concerns, and feedback promptly. This approach shows their commitment to customer satisfaction and helps maintain a positive brand image.

One of the primary reasons for Starbucks’ social media success is the way they construct its brand image around its core audience.

Starbucks’ marketing strategy is entirely aligned with the brand’s mission – it’s inspirational and nurturing the human spirit.

Overall, Starbucks is a brand that extends its social media presence way further than solely product promotion, being focused on rather emphasizing the Starbucks lifestyle, which is known for its sense of belongingness and inclusion.

A glimpse at Starbucks’s presence on social media

Starbucks recently added over 710,000 new Facebook followers. Starbucks only posted 158 times in a week making it to a posting frequency of 3 times a week on average.

So how do they engage their audience with the less is more strategy? They have over 36,313,537 likes on Facebook.

starbucks social media marketing case study

Truth be told, they know really well what the customers wanted. Their new drinks starting from Frappuccinos to Spice lattes managed to create a cult-like following for them.

The brand doesn’t post too often but whenever they do, it creates a frenzy among its audience. The brand posted more photos than similar brands and they have higher engagement around their content compared to competitors.

starbucks social media marketing case study

Their photos get several hundred comments and hundreds of shares. The visual content carries updates about the latest products. Some popular drinks are seasonal and their recurrence tends to generate a lot of buzz on social media.

These posts are colorful and quirky. Resultantly, they managed to generate millions of likes and several thousands of shares. You can create amazing backgrounds for your images with the help of free procreate brushes.

The brand promoted posts with limited-time deals and offers resulting in FOMO creating high engagement for them. Starbucks uploaded 60 plus videos that all got high engagement.

They also promoted the second season of their popular video campaign Upstanders. The series features stories of regular Americans who stood up to make a difference in their communities. The video teasers received great engagement resulting in 53,000 shares.

Starbucks’ Facebook strategy is based on replying to almost all conversations from their 158 posts. This gives reassurance to the audience that their comments will be listened to. They received 100% positive sentiment from their audience. 

starbucks social media marketing case study

Starbucks has a unique social media marketing strategy that has contributed to its big success online. They craft campaigns, product posts, and social posts catering to different events or holidays. 

This helps Starbucks create a sense of urgency in the minds of consumers to try out its products sooner than later. Starbucks captures the human element in their TikTok content.

They feature real humans in their videos and created a humanized presence for the transnational brand.

To be successful, authenticity is paramount on TikTok. Starbucks creates and posts new content every two days and integrates two to three hashtags regularly.

Instagram is one of the coolest social media channels with Starbucks investing plenty of marketing resources into Instagram to accomplish a great feed and establish their social media presence. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Instagram is where they promote themselves the most and in turn get the highest engagement.

It creates aesthetically pleasing content which is the biggest reason users love the content Starbucks creates. Starbucks gets loads of engagement on Instagram.

The vibrant Instagram-friendly face is what you see on Unicorn Frappuccino. They posted 240 posts of which 45% were photos and 48% reels. Their most popular posts were carousel posts.

Starbucks posts pictures of its products in unique settings. Colorful lifestyle posts that capture the essence of sipping coffee beside wild captions and artsy videos all speak to the quality of the brand and bear testament to its ambience, taste and more on Instagram. The product centered posts are one of the most engaging types of content on Instagram.

starbucks social media marketing case study

Starbucks uses hashtags to create excitement among users, transforming their customers as content creators for the brand. The brand curated 15 hashtags which it used to drive engagement. Some of their most engaging themes were #icedcaramelmacchiato, #IcedCoconutMilkMochaMacchiato and #pinkdrink.

It organizes its Instagram content to create chromatic themes and seasons that speaks to its visual journey as well as sales strategy .


Besides, Starbucks also lightens up the mood and lifts spirits with emojis inside Instagram captions to appeal to the masses with friendly tones.

Lastly, Starbucks plan reels and single images, scheduling a mix of both formats to their Instagram account. This is smart as the brand sticks to what it is great at and catches attention with visuals but also adapts itself to online video consumption thus using the best of both worlds. Starbucks posts daily on Instagram. Plus they invest much more heavily into Instagram compared to TikTok.

Starbucks has been and continues to be a visionary brand that adapts its marketing to match trends and creates creative content in response to trends.

It’s the same creative approach that it has tailored to its video content. Starbucks if they joined TikTok starting from its earlier days and made use of Reels like with YouTube shorts then things would have been a little different. They would have had an even larger following now than before.

Starbucks is only now starting to create YouTube shorts.

starbucks social media marketing case study

Comparing the brand’s TikTok videos with Reels and now Shorts, you can see that Starbucks offers a unique and distinct approach in its content marketing strategy .

Starbucks has a more fun vibe and aspires to be inspirational. Starbucks in a bid to be inspirational conducted interviews of its customers and got them talking about their life journey. These videos garnered millions of views in hours of posting them.

Starbucks has over 374,000 subscribers on YouTube and uploaded over 669 videos.

The brand uses a variety of videos to attract fans. Their YouTube strategy involves showcasing product-based videos. They have an original content series called The Upstanders followed by an animated series 1st and Main.

Another engaging piece of content they posted is a 1-minute video that features veterans. The video has had 2.6 million views. 

Another popular campaign is Good Feels Good where they have 7 videos featuring a diverse group of people. Snippets and other content from those videos made it to the brand’s site, to its different social media channels and more.

The 1st Main video was released during the holiday season in 2016 and got over 430,763 views. These videos helped grow its subscribers by 24.8%.

The next stop on the list is Twitter. They have almost 12 million Twitter followers and it has become a platform for customer service as well. They tweeted 57000 times and added 134000 new followers.

On average that means 155 tweets per day with 99% of tweets being replies helping us gauge the value they generate on the platform. Plus it goes on to show how deeply they care about their own customers.

The tweets showcase products primarily through user-generated content. They also showcased photo collages with gifs and funny videos.

Their Twitter campaign strategy revolves around sharing the experiences of their followers and this alone has helped them grow their account manifold.

The brand showcases its followers by retweeting their tweets and interacting with them. They use featured tweets to highlight messages from customers and followers. This tone of voice and apt wit makes their tweets hit a home run.

starbucks social media marketing case study

The most popular post type on Twitter is the reply post type and they commonly post textual replies.

In addition, the brand ensures that all of its customers are heard and they’re keen on responding to messages whether they be negative or positive. They take the time to reach out to each customer, make sure these customers are appreciated. They reply to 11k tweets in under 6 hours. The reply rate peaks from 9 am to 3 pm.

Starbucks’ has several Twitter accounts ranging from Pumpkin Spice latte to Frappuccino. These Twitter accounts are followed with great gusto. Photos receive the most engagement on their Twitter profile.

starbucks social media marketing case study

Starbucks knows the internet inside and out. They are a constant target and despite that, they never shied away from talking about topics that could be seen as divisive.

#BoycottStarbucks has been a hashtag that trended on social media channels for quite some time. In 2017, the company announced the decision to hire 10,000 refugees after Trump’s decision to bar refugees.

The coffee chain responded to the backlash by announcing that as part of the refugee hiring plan, they would initially focus on hiring those who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel abroad.

In August 2017, Starbucks was the target of a hoax in which the coffee chain would supposedly give out free coffee to undocumented migrants in the US. The company immediately took to Twitter, replying to multiple users and denying any such campaign.

The brand was caught in yet another controversy during the holiday season. They released their newly designed, annual holiday cup with a video that proclaimed “The holidays mean something different to everyone.” Even though the video itself did not garner a negative reaction, some viewers saw it as a reference to the inclusion of gay and transgender customers.

Buzzfeed fueled the debate, paving the way for an angry online backlash from conservatives. Starbucks did not confirm the legitimacy of these claims, but responded positively to a tweet supporting the cause.

After reading this article, you might have now realized the importance of social media for your own company. Social media when done right helps you create engagement and fanfare for your brand. However if you don’t know what your successful competitors are doing right, you’re flying in the dark.

To monitor similar brands and get an inside scoop on their marketing strategy you can use Keyhole’s free trial and get started with it today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Content formats keep evolving but Starbucks has realized that social media messages stem from a single concept. Starbucks’ entire social media activity hinges on the pillars of being relatable to others and in cultivating a personal relationship with its audience.

Starbucks social media campaigns are excellent examples of storytelling. They captured and retold human interest stories that had nothing much to do with coffee. Real-life stories however connect with consumers and create brand positivity. This emotional awareness drives both brand loyalty and awareness.

Starbucks encourages customers to share photos of them sipping coffee at its outlets through the hashtag #Starbucks. People are willing to do so in large numbers and this cultivates a sense of community among customers which in turn increases the company’s reach on social media channels.

These are the three marketing strategies they use Product: The product is of great quality, it is of different types and they have great customer service Place: Starbucks sells products in nicely designed retail outlets Price: The pricing and loyalty program drive value.

Marketing & Branding

  • 17 Feb 2020

Starbucks’ Marketing Strategy: What Your Company Can Learn

Effy Pafitis

Effy Pafitis

A Starbucks frappuccino drink on a table

This article is part of our ‘Marketing Strategies’ series, an in-depth look at how some of the world’s most successful companies promote their brand and their products.

While a competitive marketing strategy can significantly support the growth of any new company, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to carve a unique identity for their brand in a crowded marketplace. Fortunately, many businesses offer examples of successful marketing strategies that have helped them excel in this area. 

One such organisation is the US coffee giant, Starbucks. The business has leveraged a unique marketing approach to become an iconic brand, renowned for its premium coffee products and excellent customer experience. Indeed, as of February 2020, its strategy has helped the company open  nearly 30,000 stores  in over 70 countries worldwide, with an impressive  39.8% share  of the coffee market in 2019 in the US alone.

To explore how Starbucks has achieved this, we've taken a closer look at their promotion strategy, as well as what you can do to implement these lessons in your own marketing plan .

Starbucks' Marketing Strategy

Founded in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks – one of the first US coffee house franchises at that time – quickly became known for the superior quality of its freshly-roasted, whole bean coffee. Since its establishment, the organisation has focused on a brand-centric marketing strategy, working to build and maintain a distinct identity around its optimal customer service, comfortable in-store environment, and sustainable coffee.

Starbucks continues to achieve this key marketing objective by championing social media marketing and consistently delivering digital campaigns that engage existing and new consumers; indeed, these campaigns frequently utilise user-generated content, transforming buyers into brand ambassadors.

Unique among its main competitors, Starbucks does not invest significantly in offline marketing ; its non-digital promotional communication is predominantly limited to television and print advertisements. Instead, the brand places greater value in bolstering in-store features that lend themselves to positive customer experience and satisfaction – a strategy that is clearly succeeding, with  reporting revenues  of $26.5bn in 2019.

Customer Profile

In line with Starbucks' market positioning as a premium coffee brand, the  company's demographic  is typically defined as relatively high-income individuals, primarily between the ages of 25 and 54. They are educated, on-the-go, young professionals and white-collar workers who are willing to pay a premium for handcrafted coffee. Their preferences include personalised in-store interactions and purchasing options that increase buyer convenience.

Starbucks' digital marketing activities and investments support its continued market research, providing valuable customer demographic insights. Online campaign engagements, Starbucks mobile app use and buyer competition entries allow the organisation to consistently evaluate the age, location, income and predilections of its customers.

As mentioned, Starbucks prioritises its online marketing and advertising delivery, raising awareness around its products, promotions, campaigns, social impact principles, merchandise and more. In the fiscal year ending September 2019, the company utilised a global budget of  around $246m  to this end; here are some of the ways in which that money was spent:

Social Media Marketing

Starbucks uses social media marketing to drive its promotion strategy to consumers. Key platforms utilised throughout include Facebook , Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In addition to organically posting content, the coffee company invests in paid social media campaigns, using its wealth of demographic data to target particular consumer groups and new audiences.

All creative content prominently displays the now-iconic Starbucks logo , a key driver of its brand recognition and brand equity, and a symbol of its premium status.

The brand also leverages this digital activity to conduct conversations with consumers, fostering closer brand-buyer relationships and contributing to successful consumer retention rates.

Consumer Advocacy

Starbucks cleverly capitalises on user-generated content in its social media marketing practices, influencing impactful consumer advocacy. 

Indeed, consumers are encouraged to post photos and videos of their beverages, merchandise and experiences with the brand online. Starbucks then shares this content on its official social media pages, as well as incorporating selected consumer material in their wider marketing campaigns. Consumers whose content is utilised can feel more included in – and valued by – the company, making them more likely to make further purchasing decisions, as well as publish more Starbucks-related content in the future.

User-created content is  2.4 times more likely  to be perceived by audiences as authentic, compared to content created directly by a brand. This then creates further trust between the company and potential consumers, encouraging higher sales.

In-Store Marketing

Exterior of a Starbucks in Redmond, Washington, USA

To make its store locations more appealing, welcoming, and functional, Starbucks invests in a variety of in-store marketing efforts.

For instance, the brand began to offer free WiFi in all its stores in 2002, influencing consumers to stay for longer periods after their purchases, and fulfilling buyer preferences for continued connectivity.

Advertising messaging placed inside stores promote new products and loyalty scheme advantages to buyers, too, aiming to drive deeper awareness and generate further demand among existing consumers and, therefore, supporting the brand's customer retention aspirations.

Starbucks also uses the data available from its store locations to fulfil market research objectives , collecting and analysing details around customer sales, preferences and behaviour.


Another promotional tool used online and in-store is competitions and sweepstakes. These contests typically encourage consumers to photograph and share content online relating to new store features, campaign banners, seasonal releases and the like. 

This is a clever way to boost the online discussion around the brand, drive knowledge of new products, and increase traffic to Starbucks' website and social media pages. By using a dedicated hashtag to track competition entries, digital engagement becomes easier to analyse, clearly depicting how successful each sweepstake was in achieving its particular objective. 

Loyalty Programmes and Mobile App Marketing

According to longstanding convention – namely, the  2001 research  of Fred Reichheld of management consultancy, Bain & Company – acquiring a new customer can cost anywhere as much as five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. This is something that Starbucks recognises, investing heavily in its loyalty programme and mobile app to facilitate customer retention. 

The company released the first version of its loyalty programme in 2008 – now called Starbucks Rewards – quickly followed by the launch of its dedicated mobile application in 2009. The app's objective was to optimise consumers' end-to-end experience with the brand and allow Starbucks Rewards members to track their loyalty points and gifts easily.

Customers are encouraged to participate in the brand's loyalty scheme and download the app to be eligible for exclusive offers, order discounts, birthday gifts, and complimentary beverages. 

Mobile notifications issued from the app also keep loyal users informed of any new announcements, product launches or upcoming rewards. 

Finally, the addition of in-app ordering and payment options has increased the in-store convenience experienced by users, addressing modern buyers' demand for efficient service. 

With high levels of personalisation supporting its marketing segmentation, Starbucks' mobile app facilitates customer loyalty and differentiation among competitors. The success of the app is evidence of this, boasting 23.4m users in the US alone. 

Starbucks' brand-centric marketing approach is executed across various communication channels, predominantly online. Campaigns are consistent in their content type and deployment, always working to maintain the coffee company's premium status, conveying its ethical sourcing principles, promoting its beverages, and influencing loyalty among existing customers.

This focus on maintaining its superior image – while boosting customer experience and satisfaction – has undoubtedly contributed to the steady increase of Starbucks' brand value, which was calculated at  around $32.4bn  globally in 2018. 

Despite selling coffee-related merchandise in all store locations, the company's revenue-by-product-type indicates that its core product leads the way, with global 2019 revenues for beverages totalling  around $15.9bn . This is something not lost on the company, reflected in the content focus of its primary marketing campaigns.

Key Campaign

The 2017 Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino product campaign is an excellent example of this, also demonstrating the global coverage that Starbucks' digital campaigns garner.

For just four days in April 2017, Starbucks launched an innovative digital campaign around a new, limited-edition beverage created predominantly to drive buzz online. Named the  Unicorn Frappuccino , the brightly coloured drink was designed to be both sweet and sour, changing colour from pink to purple once stirred.

Woman holding the limited edition Unicorn Frappuccino from Starbucks

Rather than following the traditional digital marketing delivery route of releasing promoted banner ads online or generating awareness through its app, the company leaked attractive images of the product to social news site Reddit before its official release; immediately, this created high levels of consumer anticipation around the product. Except for light promotion through its social media channels, the company then let the media and its buyers do the rest of the work, taking advantage of the free advertising from both of these sources.

Indeed, the new beverage led to over  150,000 consumer posts  displaying the hashtag #UnicornFrappuccino on Instagram, even though the drink was only available for purchase in the US, Canada and Mexico. The worldwide exposure, focusing on the aesthetically pleasing nature of the product as well as its scarcity, led to an increase in in-store footfall with consumers scrambling to get their hands on the Frappuccino before it became unavailable.

This higher footfall and sales during the period of April 19th to the 23rd allowed the company to secure new consumers, as well as recapture lost buyers, by reinforcing the brand's market positioning.

The campaign took advantage of the consumer trend of sharing photos of food and drink online, too, something that Starbucks spokespersons confirmed publicly. Indeed, entrepreneurs can take inspiration from this campaign, in particular, and understand that there is real value in making products visually exciting, as well as leveraging digital awareness generated by buyers and spectators alike.

Although the company can often find itself at the  centre of PR disputes , Starbucks follows an exemplary marketing plan, tailored specifically to the identity and objectives of the brand. Its compelling strategy indicates how businesses can rely on consistency to maintain strong brand equity and build impressive brand value.

Indeed, rather than limiting the impact of this approach, its steady execution has made the brand renowned for particular principles and levels of quality, allowing existing and new consumers to have an accurate expectation of their in-store experiences both before and after their purchases. As a business owner, you can learn from this; evaluate the digital focus of your brand, and take inspiration from the incredible value of the awareness and demand that can be driven almost exclusively online.

In the meantime, if you still want to learn more about how the world's biggest brands sell their products and engage with audiences, then why not take a look at our breakdown of Red Bull's marketing strategy , too?

What do you think of Starbucks' marketing strategy, and what else can entrepreneurs learn from it? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

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The Siren's Lure - A Starbucks Influencer Marketing Case Study

Profile image of Martine Mussies

2020, Better Marketing [Medium]

This article explores how and why Starbucks engages online influencers to popularize their products. By looking at Starbucks’s corporate communications and the way they deal with journalists, we’ll get an idea of why and how influencer marketing works for the company. To conclude, we will go deeper into the meaning of media-texts about Starbucks. What is it that Starbucks is really selling? What’s the essence of what bloggers and vloggers are drawn to at Starbucks?

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Table of Contents

What is the starbucks target market, the rewarding marketing strategies of starbucks, marketing mix, how strong is the starbucks digital marketing presence, marketing during covid-19, starbucks’ strategic alliances that enhanced their reach , exploring starbucks marketing strategy: the success secret.

Exploring Starbucks Marketing Strategy: The Success Secret

Ranking 5th on the World's Most Admired Companies list by Fortune, the commitment to consistent branding has made Starbucks a huge success today. Spanning 70 countries worldwide, this American multinational chain of coffeehouses has come a long way in its journey. The Starbucks marketing strategy constitutes a blend of social media marketing , digital marketing , search engine optimization , and right post-marketing analysis. 

Replicating the entire Starbucks marketing strategy is nearly impossible for brands with low budgets. However, learning and implementing the core principles and the idea behind the Starbucks marketing strategy can benefit even startups. 

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By knowing exactly who its target audience is at any point and catering to a specific set of people, Starbucks has been able to stand apart from its competitors like Costa and Cafe Coffee Day. 

Being a premium coffee brand, Starbucks has most of its customers belonging to the upper economic segment. It targets youngsters and people who seek a peaceful space to drink coffee. Its high-end customers fall in the 22-50 age group, both male and female. Thus, the Starbucks target market constitutes:

  • High-income spenders
  • Health-conscious professionals
  • Technology early adopters
  • Coffee-addict youngsters

The Starbucks marketing mix segments its customers on a socio-economic level. The distinguished offline experience and consistent online marketing efforts have made the brand exceptional. 

Starbucks' marketing mix very well incorporates the four P's . 

  • Product: High-quality products justify the premium pricing. They ensure that the coffee tastes better than its competitors. Their Barista Promise of fixing your drink if you don't like it has attracted the masses. 
  • Price: Starbucks sells their coffee at least 25% higher than other brands. It offers its customers exceptional drinks and food, charges more, and the people are willing to pay.  
  • Promotion: From social media to TV to ads– the company uses various channels for marketing its products. The mix of marketing media makes them stand out. Compared to other major global brands like Apple, Starbucks spends the least on their marketing but can still make an impact. Why? The robust Starbucks marketing strategy has made all the difference. 
  • Place: They create a similar premium relaxing environment in every Starbucks location which lures the crowd. 

Key Takeaway: Your brand can charge a higher price by providing a premium experience and delivering better products than the competitors. 

Digital Expansion

The Starbucks marketing strategy incorporates digital interactions with customers by implementing new ways to attract digitally registered customers. It offers mobile order services and Wi-Fi sign-ins at its stores. The ability to go cashless with Starbucks cards has further accelerated its business. 

Starbucks Social Media Strategy

Starbucks' social media accounts exhibit distinctive branding , visually appealing content, and interactive posts that enhance user engagement. The diverse content range has eye-catching photography, videos, recipes, articles and more. In addition to the visual appeal, the Starbuck marketing strategy for social media breaks down the stream of content into a series of campaigns. 

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Starbucks Campaigns 

The Starbucks campaigns fall into the following three categories, creating a greater sense of brand awareness : 

  • Starbucks Product-based Campaigns: The company promotes unique and fan-favorite beverages. It has even created social profiles for customers' favorites -Frappuccino and Pumpkin Spiced Latte. They publish relevant memes for their audience. Utilizing the power and sentiments attached to consumer images, the brand often re-shares them on its official channels. 


Starbucks Frappuccino

  • Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility-Based Campaign: Using social change as a marketing tool, Starbucks positions itself as inclusive and open-minded. Its #The ExtraShotOfPride campaign gained popularity by supporting the LGBT+ community.
  • Community-based campaigns: Another important facet of the Starbucks marketing strategy is its emphasis on highlighting communities and individuals. They rely on storytelling to depict acts of kindness in communities while localizing the content.

Festive Marketing

Innovative ideas have been the strength of Starbucks. The company initiated a whole-bean coffee campaign– #StarbucksDiwaliBlend as a tribute to Karnataka's rich coffee heritage and expertise.


Starbucks Diwali Blend

Its #SketchTheBlend campaign was launched on Diwali, where customers were urged to share their creativity on the Diwali Blend cup. The best ones could bag five free beverages.


Starbucks Facebook Post on #SketchTheBlend

Key Takeaway: Involving customers via festive marketing is a strong part of the Starbucks marketing strategy too. You can also leverage the opportunity and enhance customer engagement. 

Targeting the elite class, Starbucks understands that its audience is technologically advanced. Starbucks' digital marketing provides it with an opportunity for two-way communication, unlike leaflets, magazines, and television, which are more of one-way communication. It has considerable traffic on its social media accounts, including 

  • Facebook: 36 M+ page likes
  • Instagram: 17.8 M followers
  • Twitter: 11 M followers


Starbucks Instagram Handle

Consistency is the key to a successful Starbucks marketing strategy. It extends the same to social media handles by posting daily. It has challenges and games that engage its customers and enhance its fan base. 

Also, the company publishes engaging posts and connects viewers from one platform to another. Take the following Instagram post as an example. The bright and clean picture is reflective of the Starbucks brand. The caption describes their new espresso shot in a conversational tone. 


Starbucks Instagram post

Now any consumer interested in the product would probably like to know more and find the landing page for Starbucks’ blonde espresso . 


Starbucks Website Image for Blonde Espresso 

The website satisfies the intrigued customer with more information on the blonde espresso and why Starbucks has launched the same. Scrolling down, you would come across videos and several other images. Thus, the company smartly employs marketing tactics to lure its customers and delight them with amazing products.

As the Covid-19 pandemic took over the world, Starbucks geared up with marketing tactics to sustain itself in these unprecedented times. The company constantly improvised, mitigating the economic impact via the following measures:

  • Expansion: Starbucks announced launching drive-thrus and home delivery to stay connected with their customers in tough times. They also launched their app in India to help customers easily navigate and purchase their key offerings.
  • Starbucks Social Media Campaigns: Seizing the opportunity to expand its user engagement, the company launched the #ReconnectWithStarbucks campaign. They asked their followers to share ideas of reconnecting amidst the pandemic. They also urged them to share their favorite Starbucks memory via Instagram with the hashtag #ReconnectWithStarbucks. Another popular campaign was the “Half Cup Full”. The customers had to comment on their favorite beverage on the Starbucks post, and then to remind the customers of the in-store experience, they sent them voice notes of baristas calling their names along with their favorite beverage.  

As a part of the Starbucks marketing strategy, the company makes smart associations that enhance its reach and experience. 

Merchandise Launch With Flipkart


Starbucks Merchandise Launch with Flipkart

Taking advantage of the growing dependence on e-commerce during the pandemic, Starbucks partnered with Flipkart and launched Starbucks Signature Merchandise on the platform. It offered a range of products, including custom mugs, cold cups, tumblers, coffee brewing equipment and more. Thus, enabling its customers to order from the comfort of their homes. 

A well-crafted Starbucks marketing strategy is one of the prime reasons why the coffee-chain company has a dominating global presence and leadership. Additionally, to stay true to its word, they provide an arguably different atmosphere, unmatched service, and a welcoming environment to every customer who visits their brick-and-mortar stores.

You can establish your business with a stellar marketing strategy and employ the best digital marketing practices. Start your journey in upskilling yourself by enrolling on Simplearn’s PCP Digital Maketing Program in collabration with Purdue University. Boost your career with a unique 6-month course and a placement guarantee. 

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  • Susan Peters
  • Oct 28, 2023

Case Study: How Starbucks Leveraged Social Media to Navigate the Great Recession of 2008

In the annals of business history, Starbucks stands as a shining example of how a global giant can successfully pivot and emerge stronger from a financial crisis. The year 2008 marked a turbulent period for businesses worldwide, but Starbucks, the world's largest coffee retailer, demonstrated remarkable resilience and adaptability. This case study explores how Starbucks harnessed the power of social media to align its operations with customer demands, leading to a remarkable turnaround.

Starbucks digital marketing in a recession

Starbucks : A Name Synonymous with Quality

Founded in 1971 in Seattle, Starbucks had grown to become a global powerhouse with a presence in 50 states across the United States and 43 countries. The company was renowned for its quality, earning accolades such as "Best Business," "Most Admired Company," and "100 Best Corporate Citizens." However, this success came at a price, as Starbucks was often perceived as having higher prices than local coffee houses.

The Starbucks Challenge

The Impact of the Financial Crisis

The 2008 financial meltdown posed a significant challenge for Starbucks. As consumers sought cost-effective alternatives for their daily caffeine fix, Starbucks witnessed a drop in sales. In response to this financial crisis, the company was forced to close unprofitable stores, shutting down 600 shops by March 30, 2008, with profits falling by 28 percent compared to the previous year. This was a pivotal moment for the coffee giant.

The Return of Howard D. Schultz

Reigniting the Emotional Attachment with Customers

In January 2008, Howard D. Schultz returned as CEO, replacing Jim Donald. Schultz, who had presided over Starbucks's public offering in 1992, recognized that the company needed to shift its focus back to its customers. He emphasized the need to reignite the emotional attachment with Starbucks customers, redirecting the company's strategy away from bureaucracy.

Starbucks Howard Schultz

Schultz's approach contrasted with the previous leadership's view that blamed the economy and higher dairy product costs for declining business. He contended that Starbucks' heavy spending on expansion had created a bureaucracy that masked its problems.

A Fresh Approach: Embracing Social Media

From Conventional to Technology-Oriented Strategy

Instead of traditional strategies like store layout changes, Starbucks took a novel approach. It embraced technology and encouraged an environment where employees could contribute to organizational strategies and ideas. This led to the development of a community involvement concept.

In March 2008, Starbucks launched "My Starbucks Idea," a platform that allowed customers to exchange ideas with each other and directly with the company. Customers were invited to share their thoughts on products, services, layout, advertising, corporate social responsibility, in-store music, and more. Over 93,000 ideas were shared by about 1.3 million users on social media, with page views per month rising to 5.5 million.

Rebuilding Trust and Customer Engagement

Connecting with Customers Worldwide

After the 2008 crisis, Starbucks had to rebuild its customer relationships and show the world that it cared about quality and consistency. "My Starbucks Idea" provided a direct link between customers and the company's headquarters. Starbucks' ubiquity became an asset as customers worldwide connected with each other, creating like-minded communities.

The Power of Social Media Marketing

Projecting the 'Cool' Element

Starbucks recognized the importance of projecting its 'cool' element through social media-based marketing. The company adopted a balanced approach, focusing on community engagement over pushing too many products, causes, or offers. Social media platforms helped Starbucks swiftly manage and mitigate damaging information that could harm its global identity.

Mobile Apps and Customization

Pioneering the Use of Mobile Apps

Starbucks was an early adopter of mobile apps, integrating social media strategy objectives with technology channels. The company's iPhone app included features like store locators, nutrition-based information, and a rewards program, which enhanced its social media community fabric.

One innovative initiative, "MyStarbucksSignature," allowed customers to create personalized drinks and share them with the community. This initiative educated customers about the wide range of product offerings and showed them how to order custom drinks, fostering an interactive and fun activity.

Results: A Robust Fan Base and Increased Engagement

Reigniting the Brand Trust

Starbucks implemented over 100 ideas through "My Starbucks Idea," building a robust fan base. By giving customers a platform to voice their ideas and views on the brand, and by actively responding to them, Starbucks rekindled its brand trust.

Effectiveness of Social Media in Reigniting a Brand

Starbucks' successful use of social media demonstrated its ability to align its operations with changing customer demands. The company managed to rebuild customer trust, ignite customer engagement, and reconnect with its global customer base. Starbucks maintained a fine balance between spontaneous and well-planned social media posts, projecting its 'cool' image while engaging with the community.

In the ever-changing world of business, Starbucks' case is a testament to the power of social media in transforming and reinvigorating a brand. Social media platforms serve as a bridge for Starbucks to listen to its customers, respond to their ideas, and show its commitment to quality and community engagement.

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Starbucks’ Social Media Strategy: Success, Engagement, and Future Recommendations

Starbucks effectively utilizes social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram for digital marketing. This study delves into Starbucks’ strategies on these platforms, highlighting their interactive content, user engagement, and successful campaigns like “Take out your garden.” The brand's approach fosters online interaction, driving both brand visibility and transactions. Recommendations include enhancing user-generated content, collaborating with key influencers, and exploring innovative marketing methods.

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  • Social Media Management
  • Review Management

Top 3 Social Media Case Studies to Inspire You in 2024

Discover three successful social media case studies from top brands and learn how to create one. Benefit from their strategies and mistakes to ensure the success of your next campaign.

Top 3 Stellar Social Media Case Studies to Inspire You

Social media is every marketer’s safe haven for branding and marketing.

And why not?

More than 50% of the population is active on social media, and more are signing up with every passing second.

In a recent poll by HubSpot, 79% of the respondents have made a purchase after seeing a paid advertisement on social media .

This isn’t just a happenstance.

It’s the constant efforts that these brands put behind their dynamic presence on social media, that counts.

But how do they captivate their customers’ attention for this long despite the budding competitors?

Well, that’s something that we’ll reveal in this blog.

We shall assess 3 different social media case studies by top brands who are best in their niches. Their game is simple yet effective.

How effective? Let’s take a look.

Social Media Case Study 1: Starbucks

Starbucks and social media are a match made in heaven. Being one of the sensational brands online, they are stirring the social media world with their strong presence.

They brew the right content to elevate the experiences of their coffee lovers. But how do they nail marketing with perfection every single time? Let’s find out.

Starbucks in Numbers

Starbucks mastered the advertising transition from offline fame to online undertaking. They use each social media with a varied goal to target pitch-perfect reach. Drawing in more customers than ever before, they strike the right balance in content across multiple platforms.


Key Takeaways

Though not every company has a Starbucks budget to promote and spend lavishly on social media marketing, here are some quick takeaways that will undoubtedly help.

1. Chasing Trends

Be it any event, brands must take the advantage to showcase their viewpoints and opinions. Successful brands like Starbucks jump into the bandwagon and leave no stone unturned to make their voice count in the trending list.

Here’s one such social media campaign example from Starbucks.


Starbucks is a firm believer in LGBTQ+ rights. When the pride wave surged, Starbucks came forward and reinstated its belief through the #ExtraShotOfPride campaign.

Starbucks joined hands with the Born This Way Foundation to raise $250K to support the LGBTQ+ community. Throughout the social media campaign, they shared quotes and stories of various Starbucks employees cherishing the pride spirit.

2. Less is More

Social media is not about quantity but quality. Starbucks follows the “less is more” principle to maintain the quality standards, even in the caption. Spamming followers’ feeds with constant posting is a big no-no. Starbucks shares 5-6 posts per week on Instagram and 3-4 weekly posts on Facebook .

Starbucks follows

Creative and crisp! That’s what defines a Starbucks caption. This post with 111+k likes is no exception. Nothing is better than a minimalist post with a strong caption.

3. User Generated Content is the King

Ditch the worry of creating content every day when you can make use of user generated content. Starbucks makes sure to retweet or post its loyal customers’ content. User generated content postings starkly improve brand credibility.

Generated Content

Look at this Facebook post made out of customers’ tweets. The new Oatmilk drink got the appreciation shower by some, and Starbucks couldn’t resist but share it with others. It saved them efforts on content brainstorming, plus they got free PR.

4. Building Rapport

Building rapport with the audience is an unsaid rule to brand fame. Social media has now taken the onus of dispensing quality service by aiding brands in prompting faster replies .

Building rapport

Starbucks is always on its toe to respond to customers actively solving concerns, expressing gratitude, or reposting. That kind of proactive service definitely deserves love and adoration.

5. Loads of campaigns

Starbucks is known for its innovative social media campaigns. Be it a new product launch or any festivity around the corner, Starbucks always turns up with a rewarding campaign.

Loads of campaign

In this social media campaign example, Starbucks introduced #RedCupContest with prizes worth $4500 during Christmas of 2016. A new entry came every 14 seconds.

The grand total of entries was a whopping 40,000 in just two days. Indeed Starbucks knows how to get the most out of the festive fever.

6. Content mix

Last but not least, the content mix of Starbucks is inspiring. They create tailored content for every platform.

Starbucks youtube channel

The official youtube channel of Starbucks comprises content in varied hues. From recipes to even series, Starbucks is the ultimate pioneer of experimenting.

Starbucks Instagram

Even on Instagram, they use all the features like Guides, Reels, and IGTV without affecting their eye-popping feed. Starbucks also follows the design consistency for its aesthetic content mix.

Starbucks has proved time and again to be a customer-centric brand with their unrelenting efforts.

Social Media Case Study 2: Ogilvy & Mather

Ogilvy & Mather needs no introduction. Founded by David Ogilvy, the ‘Father of Advertising’ in 1948, the agency continues the legacy of revolutionizing marketing long before the advent of social media.

The iconic agency helps several Fortune 500 companies and more make a massive impact on their audiences worldwide.

Ogilvy & Mather knows its game too well and never fails to astonish. Not just high-profile clients, Ogilvy nails its marketing with perfection every single time.

Keep on reading.

Ogilvy & Mather in Numbers

They use social media to target pitch-perfect reach. Drawing in more hype than ever before, they know how to strike the right balance and bring out emotions with their heart-warming campaigns.


Not every company has David Ogilvy’s legacy or even affluent clients to boast of, but here are some quick takeaways that will undoubtedly help you become a pro marketer.

1. Integrating Values

Ogilvy stands apart from the crowd, creating trends. They leave no stone unturned to communicate values.


Proud Whopper is one such social media campaign by Ogilvy that was an instant hit on the internet. People were offered whoppers in rainbow-colored wrappers, with a note that said, “Everyone’s the same on the inside.” This was to reinstate the importance of LGTQ+ rights.

The campaign got 1.1 billion impressions, $21 million of earned media, 450,000 blog mentions, 7 million views, and became the #1 trending topic on Facebook and Twitter.

Ogilvy made a remarkable #Tbt video to honor this momentous event showcasing their supremacy in creating impactful campaigns.

2. Quality over Quantity

Ogilvy believes in the “ Quality supremacy ” to maintain their high standards, even in post captions.

Arbitrary posting isn’t a part of their agenda. They share 5-7 posts on Instagram and Facebook weekly.

Quality over Quantity

Direct and very precise. That’s what defines an Ogilvy caption. This post is no exception. They have exhibited the success of their client work by describing the motive behind the campaign and sharing the ad they created for raising awareness.

3. Adding Credibility

Won awards? It’s time to boast! Because that’s the most authentic way of establishing trust among your clients. It bears proof of your excellence.

Adding Credibility

Look at this pinned Twitter post. Ogilvy won the Global Network of the Year by the very prestigious London International Awards. It also earned Regional Network of the year for Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

What better than this to give its audience an idea about Ogilvy’s roaring success and undoubted potential?

4. Being Innovative

Building rapport with the audience is an unsaid rule to brand fame. And that’s why you need to tell stories. Social media has become an indispensable medium to spread your stories far and wide.

Being Innovative

Ogilvy shares its historical tale of existence and how it has adapted to the challenges of the changing world. The team extensively talks about their adaptation to the latest trends to stay on top always.

5. Brainstorming Uniqueness

Being unique is what propels you on social media. People are always looking for brands that do something different from the herd. So your task each day is undeniably brainstorming unique content.

Brainstorming Uniqueness

KFC wanted more of its customers to use its app. Well, Ogilvy and KFC decided to hide a secret menu in the app, which was a mass invitation for the download without being salesy at all. Results? Downloads up by 111% at launch!

6. Inspire Your Peeps

Inspiration is everywhere. But how do you channelize and mold it as per your brand guidelines? The renowned brands move their audience, filling them with a sense of realization. Who doesn’t seek validation? We all need quotes and inspiration to live by.

Inspire Your Peeps

Ogilvy has dedicated its entire Pinterest profile to inspiration. The profile has numerous insightful infographics that encourage you to pursue marketing when your spirits run low. And that’s how it brings out the very essence of being the marketing leader: by inspiring its followers.

Got some good ideas for your branding? We have created templates and tools to help you execute them hassle-free. Tread on further and download the Trending Hashtag Kit for 2024 to get into action.

Social Media Case Study 3: PewDiePie

YouTube king with 111 Million subscribers on PewDiePie Channel, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, has defied all norms. One of the most prolific content creators of the decade, Felix was on the list of World’s 100 Most Influential People by Time Magazine in 2016.

Needless to say, he is still relevant to this day and has a massive following on social media. Not just for branding, the Swedish YouTuber leveraged social media to give himself a new identity and opened doors to fame and a successful career.

What was the cause of this extraordinary trajectory?

Let’s find out.

PewDiePie in Numbers

PewDiePie likes to keep his social media raw and unfiltered. That’s why subscribers love to have a glimpse of his everyday life and follow him on other social media platforms as well. Here’s a quick snapshot of that.


Felix took the early bird advantage and started creating content when it wasn’t even popular practice. We can’t go back in time, but we can definitely learn a lot from his social media success.

1. Start Now

If you are still skeptical about making the first move, then don’t. Stop waiting and experiment. It’s better late than never.

Social media is in favor of those who start early because then you create surplus content to hold your audience . You quench their thirst for more quality content.

PewDiePie started creating videos

PewDiePie started creating videos in 2011 and live-streamed his gaming sessions with commentaries. It was something new and completely original. Ever since, he has continued to make thousands of videos that entertain his audience.

2. Gather Your Tribe

Being a content creator, PewDiePie knows his act of engaging his audience very well. He strives to build lasting connections and encourages two-way communication. As a result, his followers like to jump onto his exciting challenges.

gaming community

Felix treasures his gaming community. He frequently asks his followers to take screenshots and turn them into funny memes . He gives them tasks to keep them engaged and amused .

3. Collaboration and Fundraising

Once you reach the stage and gain popularity, people want to see more of you with their favorite personalities. That’s what Felix does.

He collaborates with multiple YouTubers and brands and puts out exclusive content for his followers. He also goes for multiple fundraising campaigns to support vital causes and social wellbeing.

social media campaign

Here’s one such social media campaign example. PewDiePie supported the CRY foundation and raised $239000 in just one day to bring a positive impact for children in India. He thanked all for their contribution and taking active participation towards a noble cause.

4. Keep it Real

Felix likes to keep his content fluff-free. You get to witness raw emotions from an unfiltered life. This instantly appeals to the audience and makes the posts more relatable .

Apart from that, he also uses storytelling techniques to narrate his experiences, adding a very personalized touch to each of the videos.


Here’s a video of Felix where he and Ken from CinnamonToastKen discuss what can be possibly done with a million dollars around the world. The topic is quite intriguing.

More than 3.8M people have watched it and 216K of them liked it as well, proving that you need not always sweat to create complex content. Even the simplest ones can make the cut.

How to Write a Social Media Marketing Case Study

Many small businesses struggle when it comes to social media marketing. But guess what? Small businesses can slay the competition with a powerful tool: the social media case study.

These social media case studies are success stories that prove your hustle is paying off. Here’s how to weave a case study that showcases your small business wins:

Building Your Brag Book

  • Pick Your Perfect Project:  Did a specific social media campaign drive a surge in sales? Highlight a product launch that went viral. Choose a project with impressive results you can showcase.
  • DIY Interview:  Don’t have a fancy marketing team? No worries! Record yourself talking about your challenges, goals, and the strategies that made a difference.
  • Data Dive:  Track down social media analytics! Look for growth in followers, website traffic driven by social media, or engagement metrics that show your efforts are working.

Now that you have all the ingredients, it’s time to cook a brilliant case study

Crafting Your Case Study

  • Headline Hunt:  Grab attention with a clear and concise headline. Mention your business name and a key achievement (e.g., “From 100 to 10,000 Followers: How We Grew Our Bakery’s Social Buzz”).
  • Subheading Scoop:  Briefly summarize your success story in a subheading, piquing the reader’s interest and highlighting key takeaways.
  • The Business Struggle:  Be honest about the challenges you faced before tackling social media. This will build trust and allow other small businesses to connect.
  • DIY Social Strategies:  Share the social media tactics you used, such as engaging content formats, community-building strategies, or influencer collaborations.
  • Numbers Don’t Lie:  Integrate data and visuals to support your story. Include charts showcasing follower growth or screenshots of top-performing posts.
  • Simple & Straightforward:  Use clear, concise language that’s easy to understand. Bullet points and short paragraphs make your case study digestible and showcase your professionalism.

Remember: Your social media case study is a chance to celebrate your achievements and build businesses. So, tell your story with pride, showcase your data-driven results, and watch your brand recognition soar

Social media campaigns are winning hearts on every platform. However, their success rates largely depend on your year-round presence. That’s why being consistent really does the trick.

We’re sure you must have learned a few things from the above-mentioned social media case studies .

To excel further at your social media marketing, use our FREE Trending Hashtag Kit and fill your calendar with everyday content ideas.

On downloading, you get 3000+ hashtags based on each day’s theme or occasion. You also get editable design templates for hassle-free social media posting.

What are you waiting for? Download now.

Frequently Asked Questions

🌟 How do I start a social media campaign idea?

Here’s how you can start a social media campaign:

  • Finalize your campaign goals
  • Brainstorm personas
  • Pick a social media channel
  • Research your competitors and audience
  • Finalize an idea that’s in trend
  • Promote the campaign
  • Start the campaign
  • Track the performance

🌟 What are the different types of social media campaigns?

Different types of social media campaigns are:

  • Influencer Campaigns
  • Hashtag Challenges

🌟 Why is social media campaign important?

Social media campaigns have various benefits:

  • Boost traffic
  • Better Conversions
  • Cost-effective Marketing
  • Lead Generation
  • PR & Branding
  • Loyal Followers

🌟 What are some of the best social media campaign tools?

Some of the best social media campaign tools are:

  • SocialPilot

🌟 What are the top social media sites?

The top social media sites are:

About the Author

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Sparsh Sadhu

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Digital Scholar

Case Study On Starbucks’s Digital Marketing Strategies – Which You Didn’t Hear Before!

  • May 18, 2022


Table of Contents

The pioneers of the second wave of coffee, the one that turned coffee from an energy drink to one that is flavourful, the one whose social media strategies have been revolutionary, the one that customises each cup of coffee for their customers – yes, you may have guessed it right! This blog is going to be all about Starbucks! 

Starbucks has come up with different ways of marketing ever since the beginning – from writing names on the Starbucks cup to personalising every cup of coffee to running online campaigns people can never forget! In this blog, we will break down all the strategies Starbucks uses and how they are ruling the digital world! Read on and join us on this journey.

Before anything, let’s start by talking about the roots of Starbucks. 

About Starbucks [History]

The story of Starbucks from brown aprons to green and selling fresh-roasted coffee beans, tea, and spices to coffee is an inspiring one. They have grown to welcome millions of customers each week over the following decades after 2000, becoming a part of the fabric of tens of thousands of neighbourhoods worldwide. Starbucks is committed to its mission in everything they do: to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time.

Today, Starbucks has over 30,000 retail stores around the world in 33 markets. Starbucks was interested in entering the Indian market in the 2010 s. By focusing on the specific upper-class demographic in India, the company hoped to profit from the rise of coffee culture. It declared its debut in India in 2007, but then abruptly withdrew without explanation. Starbucks ultimately made its major entrance into the market in 2011.

When the world’s largest bistro chain decided to enter the Indian market, it formed a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Consumer Products Limited, Asia’s largest coffee grower.

Why Should Digital Marketers Study Starbucks’s Digital Marketing Strategies?

Digital marketers can learn a lot from Starbucks’s digital marketing strategies. They stand as a source of inspiration for other marketers to carry out creative campaigns and encourage them to carry out campaigns that work!

1. Festive Marketing

More times than less, Starbucks introduces their campaigns around festivals. Starbucks has also launched a new seasonal whole-bean coffee, the #StarbucksDiwaliBlend, for customers in the United States and select international markets. Hand-picked and obtained from Tata Estates in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the current exquisite blend is a must-try. Starbucks Diwali Blend pays homage to the region’s rich coffee legacy and skill.

It created the #SketchTheBlend promotion , in which consumers could win five free beverages by sharing their creativity on the Diwali Blend cup and sleeve.


2. Consistent Branding

Everything they make follows the same clean, modern design idea. Everything about Starbucks looks, sounds, and feels like Starbucks, from the environment in their stores to their digital content to their advertising.

Even the glasses and tumblers available for purchase have a clean, modern style. What’s the end result? Whether you’re reading a social post, waiting in line, watching a TV commercial, or interacting with Starbucks in any way, everywhere, the experience is always constant.


Starbucks’s Digital Marketing Strategies 

1. starbucks’s social media strategies.

Starbucks’ customer promotion approach is driven by social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are some of the most commonly used platforms. The coffee firm invests in paid social media ads in addition to the organic content, leveraging its abundance of demographic data to target specific consumer groups and new audiences.

In a nutshell, this is how Starbucks is performing on the different social media platforms:

Facebook1.1 million
YouTube1.03K subscribers26.18%

Starbucks’s Instagram Marketing Strategies

Starbucks India’s Instagram page (@ starbucksindia ) has over 325k followers . You can find a variety of promotional posts, posts featuring their products, and starring their employees in their content bucket. 

Off late, they have made multiple posts on their collaboration with Sabyasachi, introducing their new range of cups introduced in order to support the education of female children. 

The Sabyasachi x Starbucks announcement


The big CSR collaboration was announced on Instagram by both brands, with similar posts and captions. The power of social media has clearly shifted from just getting updates from your friends to something that’s a lot more significant. 

What is Starbucks’s Instagram engagement rate?

Starbucks’s Instagram engagement rate is 0.87% and they receive an average of 2,944 likes and 20 comments per post. 

Starbucks Instagram Engagement

Starbucks’s Facebook Marketing Strategies

The social media marketing strategies that Starbucks is using include special offers, coupons, sapling, and discounts distributed through Facebook because Facebook is the main social networking site for Starbucks. In 2008, Starbucks promoted the world’s biggest Facebook ad campaign that included Facebook members in 16 that will be served ads for a Starbucks charity sing-along of The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ when users log in. 

Starbucks undertook the biggest global Facebook ad campaign; the purpose was to raise awareness of the project, which was a celebration of its partnership with Sabyasachi, to support girls’ education. This particular campaign has invited people to buy mugs and cups in stores.


More importantly, Starbucks effectively manages a variety of engaging content updates, such as blog posts and films that cover all aspects of coffee, such as how to cultivate coffee beans, as well as pieces of writing about Starbucks and Starbucks employees. The tone and pitch of the updates are educational and easygoing. Even on their own, product updates are maintained broad enough to remain engaging, such as by offering and introducing new music and book reviews to be displaced and for sale in their cafes. As a result of the well-managed and high-quality status update material, the social networking site has an extremely active fan following. Each update receives hundreds of feedback and comments.

Starbucks’s Twitter Marketing Strategies

Like its Instagram and Facebook pages, Starbucks’s Twitter ( @StarbucksIndia ) posts the same kind of content. Starbucks interacts with its followers regularly by replying to their questions and retweeting what others say about the company. Twitter users can also receive an e-coupon for a fresh coffee or create their virtual drink to share on the social media network.

Starbucks’s YouTube Marketing Strategies

The videos uploaded on Starbucks’s YouTube website late too are related to their new collaboration with Sabyasachi. 

Starbuck's Youtube Videos Marketing Strategies

Starbucks’ YouTube films are more about coffee than about their brand or products. This is why YouTube has such a large subscriber base. Starbucks employs marketing and instructional videos to deliver information and build relationships with its followers and viewers. Starbucks offers a variety of educational movies on topics such as the origins of various coffee blends, how to make the ideal cup of coffee, farmer stories from Costa Rica, and much more. Starbucks allows people to post its films anywhere on its website to increase its visibility.

2. Starbucks’s SEO Strategies

Website overview.

Starbucks has a website with a ‘good’ domain authority of 44. Their website ensures complete user-friendliness and is easy to navigate. With subtle colours, clear fonts, and even the option to order their coffee for takeaway/delivery is available. 

Starbucks SEO Audit - ubersuggest

The only place where the font is a little difficult to read is for the drink’s name. Marketers should ensure that all the fonts used in a website are easy to read and do not demand much effort from the user.

Starbuck's Website Image

With over 24,851 organic keywords, Starbucks can get 4,09,828 organic monthly traffic, which is amazing. 

Their top organic keywords are: 

  • Starbucks India 
  • Starbucks Indian 
  • Starbucks India menu 
  • India Starbucks menu 
  • Starbucks Mumbai 

Starbucks Organic Keywords

If you are a local business with a physical presence (particularly if you have many locations), you must register with Google My Business. It’s free, pretty simple to set up, and when it comes to free promotion.

If you look at what Starbucks does, you’ll notice that they do an excellent job of setting up Google My Business sites for each of their locations, but some businesses never get around to setting one up for all of their locations. It takes a lot of effort initially, but as you can see, it pays off in the end.

Starbuck's Google My Business Local SEO

Reviews on Google

Reviews are quite important when it comes to local searches. As much as we’d like it to be true, simply creating a listing isn’t enough. You must consider it from the standpoint of the search engine. Businesses with more reviews (especially excellent ones) will rank higher (as seen below) since it provides search engines with more data points and demonstrates that people have great things to say about them, implying that it must be important.

After getting listed, one of the most difficult aspects of local optimisation is building reviews. Getting reviews isn’t easy, but if you put your marketing hat on and apply your imagination, you can do just as well as Starbucks.

Starbuck's Customer Reviews on Google

Starbucks’s Top Digital Marketing Campaigns 

1. cup contests.

Starbucks has always been ahead in using user-generated content and ensuring that its customers receive a personalised experience. Their two cup contests – the red and white cup contests- generated some buzz around their brand and got people posting about it online. 

2. The Red Cup Art

The “Red Cup Design challenge” was launched in 2016 by Starbucks, through which they invited people to design their red cups and post them on their social media wall. By the end of the challenge, Starbucks chose the best 5 designs and launched cups with those designs across all their stores. 

Red Cup Art - StarBuck's

3. The White Cup Art

The #WhiteCupContest was a 2014 campaign that encouraged its customers to doodle on white cups and post their creations online on Twitter or Instagram. The person with the best design could have their designs printed on a limited edition reusable cup. 

White Cup Art - StarBuck's

4. To be human

In early 2019, Starbucks launched ‘Starbuck Stories,’ a content website that focuses on a storytelling about the company’s social effect. This information is also shared on its respective social media channels, such as Twitter and Instagram.

To be human - Starbucks' Instagram Campaign

Starbucks’ illustrated series #ToBeHuman is one of the platform’s most effective and popular types of content. Short but captivating video drawings are overlaid with the voice of several Starbucks employees sharing personal and encouraging experiences.

5. The Unicorn Frappuccino 

In April 2017, the Unicorn Frappuccino was only available for three weeks, but its impact lasted much longer. It was no surprise that the drink – a sweet, vibrantly coloured mix – erupted on social media. Starbucks produced the limited-edition beverage with the expectation that dedicated customers would share it on social media.

The Unicorn Frappuccino - Starbuck's

On Instagram alone, the hashtag #unicornfrappucino is linked to over 150,410 photographs. The majority of the most recent photographs are recreations of the Starbucks original, demonstrating how long-lasting limited-edition products can be.

Starbucks has continued experimenting with secret menu items, successfully generating excitement on social media and directing customers into stores.


As you can see, Starbucks has made inroads into the internet arena to promote its products and brand. Do you want to come up with your standout tactics? To strengthen your company’s digital marketing methods, enroll in Digital Scholar’s online digital marketing course. This course is for anyone who wants to understand everything about digital marketing and how to apply it to their own business. Also, try this free digital marketing course to get started.

Are you prepared to take your company’s image to new heights? Enrolling in an online digital marketing course is the best option!

Which Starbucks campaign is your favourite? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks for Reading!!

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Digital Scholar is a premier agency-styled digital marketing institute in India. Which offers an online digital marketing course and a free digital marketing course worldwide to elevate their digital skills and become industry experts. Digital Scholar is headed by Sorav Jain and co-founder Rishi Jain, who are pioneers in the field of digital marketing. Digital Scholar’s blogs touch upon numerous aspects of digital marketing and help you get intensive ideas of different domains of digital marketing.

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Starbucks Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, has gained global recognition and respect for its innovative marketing strategies. With a relentless focus on customer engagement, brand building, and product innovation, Starbucks has successfully positioned itself as a market leader in the coffee industry. In this case study, we will explore Starbucks’ marketing strategy in 2024, examining its growth, target market, and key initiatives that have contributed to its success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Starbucks entered the Indian market in 2011 and experienced significant growth, expanding from 1 store in 2011 to 84 stores in 2015.
  • The brand targets higher wage-earning professionals, business owners, and higher-end customers in the 22-50 age group.
  • Starbucks caters to urban, health-conscious, and class-conscious individuals, offering premium coffee experiences.
  • The company’s marketing strategies involve effective segmentation, social media engagement, digital expansion, and continual product innovation.
  • Starbucks operates in over 80 countries worldwide, leveraging its global presence and market reach.

About Starbucks

Starbucks, the renowned coffee-house chain, offers a wide variety of hot and cold beverages, catering to the diverse preferences of coffee enthusiasts worldwide. From irresistible whole-bean coffee and carefully crafted espresso to refreshing teas, lattes, and other specialty drinks, Starbucks has become synonymous with quality and innovation in the coffee industry.

Operating in over 80 countries, Starbucks has established itself as a global leader, with more than 19,767 outlets and licensed stores. The company’s commitment to providing exceptional coffee experiences has positioned it as a go-to destination for coffee lovers.

Starbucks prides itself on its premium pricing strategy, offering a range of products that are around 25% higher in price compared to value brands. Despite this higher price point, customers are drawn to Starbucks for its unparalleled quality and a commitment to an elevated coffeehouse experience.

Logo Evolution

Over the course of its 47-year existence, the Starbucks logo has undergone four redesigns. The latest update, in 2011, was the result of a collaboration with the NYC-based creative agency Lippincott. The evolution of the logo showcases Starbucks’ commitment to staying relevant in an ever-changing market.

Mobile Ordering and Marketing Channels

Recognizing the shift towards digital convenience, Starbucks launched its first mobile app in 2009, followed by in-app payment options in 2011. In 2014, the company introduced the game-changing features of mobile order ahead, prepay, and pickup.

To reach its target audience effectively, Starbucks employs a multifaceted marketing approach. The company leverages various channels, including social media platforms and impactful TV spots, to connect with customers and build brand loyalty. Despite spending significantly less on marketing compared to major brands like Apple and Nike, Starbucks has managed to cultivate a strong and engaged customer base.

Target Audience and Global Presence

Starbucks caters to men and women in the middle to upper classes who can afford higher-priced beverages regularly. By providing a premium customer experience, Starbucks targets middle-aged individuals with higher purchasing power, ensuring that every cup exceeds their expectations.

With a staggering presence in over 62 countries, Starbucks operates thousands of outlets and licensed stores, making it one of the most recognizable coffee brands globally. The company’s commitment to expansion has facilitated its dominance in the market, with a notable market share of 35.7%, firmly establishing itself as the industry leader.

Stay tuned for the next section, where we explore Starbucks’ journey and growth in the Indian market.

Starbucks in India

In 2011, Starbucks made its official entry into the Indian market through a joint venture with Tata Consumer Products Limited. This strategic partnership allowed Starbucks to tap into the vast potential of the Indian market, known for its diverse culture and growing economy.

India, the seventh largest economy globally and the second most crucial emerging market based on GDP, offered Starbucks a lucrative opportunity to establish a strong foothold. By combining Starbucks’ global presence and expertise with Tata’s local knowledge and resources, the premium coffee brand aimed to capture the hearts of Indian consumers.

Prior to its market entry, Starbucks trademarked the “Starbucks” brand in 10 Indian languages as early as 2008, highlighting its commitment to localization. This attention to detail and understanding of Indian preferences allowed Starbucks to position itself as a premium brand associated with quality, service, and lifestyle.

Starbucks’ joint venture with Tata Consumer Products officially launched Tata Starbucks in October 2012. Since then, Starbucks has rapidly expanded in India, becoming the leading café brand with 341 stores across 43 cities. Through continuous innovation and adaptation, Starbucks has successfully catered to Indian tastes, offering popular beverages like filter coffee, masala chai, elaichi chai, and signature milkshakes at competitive price points.

Starbucks’ focus on localizing its brand is also evident in its marketing campaigns . For instance, the brand launched the #ItStartsWithYourName campaign, emphasizing inclusivity and creating familiarity in its cafes by addressing customers by their names. Furthermore, Starbucks featured a transgender model named Sia in one of its campaigns, promoting acceptance and diversity in Indian society.

To enhance the customer experience, Starbucks implemented a nationwide expansion after a successful pilot project in four cities. The campaign’s emphasis on connectivity and warmth in coffee shops resonated with Indian consumers, strengthening Starbucks’ position in the Indian market.

Year Number of Stores Market Share
2011 2 (start of joint venture)
2012 34
2013 50
2014 75
2015 84

Starbucks’ growth in India and its commitment to a premium brand positioning have solidified its position in the country’s coffee market. Through localization, innovation, and a focus on customer connections, Starbucks continues to thrive in India, catering to the diverse tastes and preferences of Indian consumers.

The Growth of Starbucks in India

In the early years of its operations in India, Starbucks focused on establishing a strong presence in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai. The company strategically opened stores in upscale locations and partnered with popular shopping centers to attract its target audience of affluent consumers. Over the years, Starbucks expanded its footprint and penetrated deeper into the Indian market by opening stores in emerging metro cities and Tier-II cities.

This aggressive expansion strategy has allowed Starbucks to tap into the growing consumer base and capitalize on the country’s robust economic growth. India, being the seventh-largest economy globally and one of the fastest-growing emerging markets, presents immense opportunities for Starbucks to thrive.

In its pursuit of growth, Starbucks has leveraged its partnership with Tata Global Beverages, forming the 50:50 joint venture known as “Starbucks – A Tata Alliance.” This collaboration has provided Starbucks with the necessary local knowledge and resources to navigate the Indian market effectively.

Furthermore, the adaptation of Starbucks’ menu to include traditional Indian tea (chai) and local bakery items has played a pivotal role in appealing to the Indian palate and enhancing the brand’s localization strategy. By incorporating local flavors and preferences, Starbucks has successfully created a unique experience for its Indian customers.

While India’s market entry may present challenges when compared to China, Starbucks’ strategic approach, premium brand image, and commitment to employee care, such as paying tuition fees for baristas, have contributed to its steady growth in the country. As Starbucks continues to capitalize on India’s growth rates and expand its presence, the company remains poised for further success in one of the world’s most promising markets.

Localization and Innovation

Starbucks, known for its global presence and innovative approach, understands the importance of catering to the unique tastes and preferences of local markets. By embracing localization and fostering innovation, Starbucks has been able to create an exceptional customer experience tailored to each region.

One of the ways Starbucks achieves localization is by introducing menu items that resonate with the local culture and preferences. In India, for example, Starbucks offers the “Chai Tea Latte,” a beloved beverage in the country. Similarly, in Japan, Starbucks introduced matcha-infused beverages, taking advantage of the local fascination with green tea.

Furthermore, Starbucks continuously innovates to enhance customer convenience. The company introduced concepts such as the Starbucks Drive-Thru, allowing customers to enjoy their favorite beverages on the go. With the Mobile Order & Pay feature, customers can now place their orders and make payments through the Starbucks mobile app, saving them time and enhancing their overall experience.

Starbucks’ commitment to localization and innovation not only allows the company to adapt to different markets but also strengthens its connection with customers. By offering localized menu items and convenient innovations, Starbucks ensures that customers feel valued and understood, fostering loyalty and satisfaction.

Localization and Innovation Examples
Localized Menu Items
Innovative Concepts

Images of Starbucks stores bustling with customers enjoying their personalized beverages and the vibrant atmosphere of local communities showcase the successful implementation of Starbucks’ localization and innovation strategies.

In the next section, we will explore how Starbucks builds deep connections with local communities through community engagement and sustainability initiatives.

Building Deep Community Connections

Starbucks goes beyond just serving coffee; it actively engages with local communities and partners with non-profit organizations to support social causes. The company understands the importance of community engagement in building a strong brand identity and fostering customer loyalty.

In India, Starbucks collaborates with local artisans and suppliers, infusing traditional Indian elements into its store designs and merchandise. By incorporating local culture and craftsmanship, Starbucks creates a sense of belonging and resonates with the community.

Sustainability is a fundamental aspect of Starbucks’ community initiatives. The company promotes responsible sourcing by prioritizing ethically and sustainably grown coffee beans. Moreover, Starbucks actively takes steps to reduce waste and invests in renewable energy, further highlighting its commitment to sustainability.

Through its community engagement efforts, Starbucks creates a platform for customers, partners, and the community to come together and make a positive impact. The Starbucks online community is a testament to this commitment, generating over 150,000 ideas that have been implemented hundreds of times.

The initiative that connects those in need with those who can help exemplifies Starbucks’ dedication to creating deeper connections within the community. This program demonstrates the power of partnership and highlights the sense of togetherness fostered within the Starbucks community.

Ultimately, Starbucks’ focus on community engagement and sustainability initiatives not only enhances customer engagement but also motivates employees to be part of a larger purpose. By fostering a sense of belonging and creating positive change, Starbucks continues to strengthen its relationship with the community and reinforce its brand values.

Starbucks in India: Key Statistics

As of 2015, Starbucks had [Starbucks in India] stores in India, representing its growing presence in the country’s coffee market. The number of stores reflects Starbucks’ commitment to expanding its footprint and catering to the diverse tastes of Indian consumers.

Although the market share data beyond 2015 is currently unavailable, Starbucks has undoubtedly made a significant impact in the Indian coffee industry. With its joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, Starbucks entered the Indian market in 2011, establishing a strong partnership that combines Tata’s local knowledge and resources with Starbucks’ global expertise.

The expansion of Starbucks in India is a testament to the success of its business model and marketing strategies. Through its localization efforts, Starbucks has adapted its menu to include traditional Indian flavors like chai and local bakery items, attracting customers who appreciate a blend of international and local experiences.

Year Number of Stores Market Share
2011 14 5%
2012 34 10%
2013 60 15%
2014 91 20%
2015 120 25%

While Starbucks’ market share in India has steadily increased over the years, it continues to face competition from both international and local coffee chains. However, the brand’s commitment to quality, innovative offerings, and exceptional customer service sets it apart and has contributed to its steady growth in the Indian market.

With the rapid growth of India’s economy and the increasing disposable income of its population, Starbucks has positioned itself to capitalize on the country’s growing demand for premium coffee experiences. As Starbucks continues its expansion in India, it is poised to further solidify its presence in the country’s coffee industry, creating memorable moments for its customers, one cup at a time.

Starbucks Target Market

Starbucks has successfully established itself as a leading brand in the coffee industry, and its marketing efforts are strategically tailored to target a specific market segment . The brand primarily focuses on higher wage-earning professionals, business owners, and other higher-end customers between the ages of 22 and 50. This target market comprises both males and females who are highly educated, health-conscious, and reside in urban and suburban areas.

One key characteristic of Starbucks’ target market is their average income, which exceeds $90,000. This demographic’s disposable income allows them to afford Starbucks’ premium offerings and positions them as the ideal customer for the brand’s higher-priced beverages and gourmet coffee options.

In addition, Starbucks’ target market values quality and is willing to pay a premium for a superior coffee experience. The brand’s emphasis on sustainable sourcing and social responsibility resonates with this demographic, as they prioritize brands that align with their values.

Starbucks strategically selects store locations in urban and suburban areas to attract their target audience. Their preference for walk-ins and drive-thrus aligns with the busy, on-the-go lifestyle of higher wage-earning professionals. In fact, 80% of Starbucks orders are from pickups and drive-thrus, indicating the habits and preferences of their target market.

To cater to their target audience, Starbucks employs various marketing strategies. The brand places a strong emphasis on customer experience, ensuring that each interaction with the brand is memorable and enjoyable. Starbucks was also an early adopter of providing free WiFi in their stores, recognizing that 96% of consumers prefer businesses that offer this amenity. Their mobile ordering apps have further enhanced convenience and accessibility for their target market.

Overall, Starbucks’ marketing strategies are specifically designed to engage and attract higher wage-earning professionals who appreciate and value a premium coffee experience. By consistently focusing on the needs and preferences of their target market, Starbucks has been able to maintain its dominance in the coffee industry while continuously expanding its global presence.

Statistic Value
Starbucks Stores Worldwide (2021) 33,000+
Starbucks Stores in the US (2021) 16,000+
Starbucks Stores in China (2021) 5,300+
Starbucks Revenue (2021) $24.61 billion
Starbucks Market Share in US Cafes 57%
Starbucks Beverage Sales (2021) $18 billion+
Starbucks Food Product Sales (2021) $5 billion+
Starbucks Average Customer Age 42 years
Starbucks Store Locations in California 3,000+
Starbucks Pickups and Drive-Thrus 80% of orders
Starbucks Rewards Program Subscribers (2019) 17 million

Marketing Strategies of Starbucks

Starbucks is renowned for its strategic marketing efforts that have contributed to its global success. The company focuses on brand building, customer experience, product innovation, and digital engagement to drive its marketing strategy.

One of the key aspects of Starbucks’ marketing strategy is its commitment to product innovation. The company continuously introduces new and unique beverages and food items to cater to evolving consumer preferences. This approach not only keeps customers engaged but also promotes repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing.

Another critical element of Starbucks’ marketing strategy is social media marketing . The brand leverages platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to connect with its target audience, share updates, and engage in meaningful conversations with customers. Through compelling visuals and interactive content, Starbucks creates a strong online presence and builds a community around its brand.

Furthermore, Starbucks prioritizes sustainability and responsible sourcing as part of its marketing strategy. The company’s commitment to ethical and environmentally friendly practices resonates with today’s conscious consumers and helps differentiate Starbucks from its competitors.

Starbucks’ mobile app, launched in 2009, plays a crucial role in its marketing strategy. The app not only enables customers to place orders and make payments conveniently but also provides personalized offers and rewards, enhancing the overall customer experience. In-app payment features, introduced in 2011, have further streamlined the ordering process and cemented Starbucks’ position as a leader in mobile commerce.

Despite being a global brand, Starbucks spends significantly less on marketing compared to other major companies like Apple and Nike. This approach highlights the effectiveness of its marketing strategies and the strong brand recognition it has built over the years.

Key Takeaways

  • Starbucks’ marketing strategy focuses on product innovation, social media marketing, and sustainability.
  • The company continuously introduces new and unique beverages and food items to cater to evolving consumer preferences.
  • Starbucks leverages social media platforms to connect with its target audience and build a strong online presence.
  • The brand prioritizes sustainability and responsible sourcing to appeal to conscientious consumers.
  • The Starbucks mobile app plays a crucial role in enhancing the customer experience and driving customer loyalty.
  • Despite spending less on marketing compared to other major companies, Starbucks has established strong brand recognition and global success.

Benefits of Starbucks’ Marketing Strategies

Starbucks has established itself as a global coffeehouse chain through its effective marketing strategies, which have yielded several key benefits.

Effective Segmentation

One of the primary benefits of Starbucks’ marketing strategies is its ability to effectively segment the target audience based on socio-economic factors. By understanding the preferences and lifestyles of its customers, Starbucks has been able to tailor its offerings to meet their needs. For example, Starbucks caters to health-conscious professionals by offering a range of ethically sourced, organic, and low-calorie menu options.

This effective segmentation allows Starbucks to create personalized experiences for its customers, which in turn builds customer loyalty and drives repeat business. Whether it’s through loyalty programs, personalized recommendations, or customized promotions, Starbucks ensures that each interaction with its customers is meaningful and relevant.

Global Recognition

Through its consistent marketing efforts, Starbucks has achieved remarkable global recognition. With its iconic logo and distinctive store design, Starbucks has become synonymous with high-quality, premium coffee. The company’s commitment to innovation and creating a unique customer experience has positioned it as a leader in the industry.

Starbucks’ global presence and reach are further evidenced by its operations in 70 countries worldwide. The brand’s ability to adapt to local cultures while maintaining a consistent brand experience has contributed to its global recognition and success.

Customer Loyalty

Another significant benefit of Starbucks’ marketing strategies is the cultivation of customer loyalty. Starbucks invests in loyalty programs, such as the Starbucks Rewards program, to incentivize repeat visits and purchases. Through these programs, customers earn points and enjoy personalized offers, enhancing their overall experience and encouraging brand loyalty.

Additionally, Starbucks’ focus on creating a consistent brand experience across all locations, often referred to as “the third place” by customers, promotes a sense of community and encourages customers to relax and socialize within Starbucks stores. This unique atmosphere fosters a strong emotional connection with the brand, resulting in increased customer loyalty.

Overall, Starbucks’ marketing strategies have proven to be highly effective, resulting in benefits such as effective audience segmentation, global recognition, and customer loyalty. By understanding and catering to the needs of its target market, Starbucks continues to thrive in the competitive coffee industry.

Key Findings and Future Outlook

Starbucks has emerged as a dominant player in the coffee industry, capturing a market share of 36.7% and generating a revenue of $14.89 billion in 2013. Despite the challenges posed by changing consumer preferences and increasing competition, the company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and exceptional customer experience has propelled its success.

The industry itself has exhibited sluggish growth, with an average annual growth rate of only 0.9% from 2008 to 2013. However, the future outlook appears promising, as the industry is projected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.9% over the next five years, potentially reaching $35.1 billion in revenues in the US.

Starbucks’ global strategy, combined with its localization efforts, has been a key driver of its success. The company has successfully integrated regional flavors, design elements, and menu items to cater to local preferences, allowing Starbucks to maintain global brand standards while adapting to diverse markets.

Starbucks’ emphasis on customer satisfaction and exceptional service has fostered a loyal customer base and enabled the company to differentiate itself from competitors. The Starbucks Rewards program, with its millions of active members, is a testament to the brand’s ability to engage and retain customers.

Furthermore, Starbucks has embraced social responsibility initiatives, such as fair trade practices and sustainable sourcing, which have resonated with conscious consumers and contributed to the company’s positive brand image. By partnering with local companies in emerging markets, Starbucks has successfully navigated regulatory challenges and established a strong presence.

Looking ahead, Starbucks must continue to innovate and adapt to evolving consumer preferences and market dynamics. The company’s focus on operational excellence, product innovation, and digital engagement will be crucial in maintaining its competitive edge and driving future growth.

Key Findings Future Outlook
– Starbucks dominates the industry with a market share of 36.7%, followed by Dunkin Brands with 24.6%. – The industry is forecasted to grow at an annualized rate of 3.9% over the next five years, potentially reaching $35.1 billion in revenues in the US.
– Starbucks and Dunkin Brands together make up more than 60% of the market share in the retail coffee and snacks industry. – Starbucks must continue to innovate and adapt to changing consumer preferences and market dynamics.
– Coffee bean prices are projected to decrease in the five years to 2018, leading to lower market costs and higher profitability. – The company’s emphasis on operational excellence, product innovation, and digital engagement will drive future growth.
– Starbucks has a loyal customer base due to its strong brand identity and commitment to customer satisfaction. – Starbucks’ social responsibility initiatives and partnerships with local companies position it for success in emerging markets.
– The industry faces challenges from substitutes to coffee and intense competitive rivalry.
– Starbucks operates over 32,000 stores across more than 80 countries globally, showcasing its global reach and market penetration.
– Despite industry challenges, Starbucks consistently reports strong sales and revenue figures, demonstrating the effectiveness of its marketing strategies.

Starbucks’ marketing strategy has played a pivotal role in establishing the company as a global leader in the coffeehouse industry. With a focus on brand building, customer experience, product innovation, and digital engagement, Starbucks has successfully cultivated a loyal customer base and maintained its position as one of the world’s most admired companies.

By targeting high-income spenders, health-conscious professionals, technology early adopters, and coffee-addict youngsters, Starbucks has positioned itself as a premium brand, selling its products at a higher price point compared to other brands. Despite the premium pricing, Starbucks has been able to attract a substantial following on social media platforms, with over 36 million page likes on Facebook, 17.8 million followers on Instagram, and 11 million followers on Twitter.

In addition to its digital presence, Starbucks has revolutionized the coffee industry by embracing mobile technology. The introduction of the Starbucks app in 2009 and the subsequent launch of mobile order ahead, prepay, and pickup services in 2011 have transformed the way customers interact with the brand and place their orders, contributing to mobile orders accounting for 31% of Starbucks’ total orders in 2019.

With a focus on product quality, diverse promotion channels, premium pricing, and creating a unique retail environment, Starbucks has been able to differentiate itself from the competition and achieve significant success. While facing challenges such as increasing competition and evolving consumer preferences, Starbucks continues to adapt and innovate, ensuring a promising future for the brand.

What is Starbucks’ target market?

How does starbucks engage with local communities, what is starbucks’ approach to sustainability, how has starbucks expanded in india, how does starbucks innovate its menu for the indian market, how does starbucks build brand loyalty, how many starbucks stores are there in india, what are the benefits of starbucks’ marketing strategies, what are starbucks’ key findings and future outlook, what is starbucks’ marketing strategy, related posts:.

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Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.

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Corporate Activism and Quality of Life: Starbucks Corporation Case Study

  • First Online: 01 January 2022

Cite this chapter

starbucks social media marketing case study

  • Joaquin Sanchez Herrera 9 ,
  • Teresa Pintado Blanco 9 &
  • Carlota Lopez Aza 9  

Part of the book series: Applying Quality of Life Research ((BEPR))

698 Accesses

This case study explores Starbucks’ social marketing campaign through a corporate activism strategy. Our aim is to gain a perspective of this problem based on the quality of life theory. This led to our study of Starbucks’ social activism campaign for the hiring of 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US between 2017 and 2022 with three basic objectives in mind: (i) help one of the most vulnerable groups in the context of wars and terrorism, giving them a second chance to rebuild their lives and that of their families, (ii) materialise their social commitment in those areas where the company operates, and (iii), from a social marketing perspective, contribute to the change of attitude of citizens towards this group in particular.

Starbucks’ economic indicators, as well as the social, economic and demographic conditions in the United States with respect to refugees, are shown for this case study and analysis. So far, the campaign has managed to recruit 2100 refugees (data updated to December 2019), from 12 different countries, in its establishments in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Finally, readers are invited to reflect on whether the arrival of Syrian refugees in the US can have a positive impact on the quality of life for the nation and for Starbucks workers.

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Joaquin Sanchez Herrera, Teresa Pintado Blanco & Carlota Lopez Aza

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M. Mercedes Galan-Ladero

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Reynaldo G. Rivera

Teaching Notes

This case study was written for a 60-90 minute discussion. In most cases it might be more helpful to divide the students into small groups so that they can discuss among themselves and come up with alternative solutions. Students should read the case study before class without answering the questions raised. If the teacher does not have enough time, the questions can be assigned well in advance, making it clear that the analysis needs to be completed before coming to class, possibly requiring parts of it to be submitted individually. Later in class, and regardless of the method chosen, the session will develop in the same way. Different aspects of this case study can be highlighted depending on the type and characteristics of the course.

Suggested Calendar

First part. 30 minutes: introduction

In addition to clarifying the elements of the case study analysis and the central idea of social marketing strategies, reference is also made to other concepts. The teacher can invite the students to comment on their vision of immigration, in particular of refugees. Then the teacher can explain the different types of activism and ask the students for real examples.

Second part. 45 minutes: analysis

The students are organised into groups and must answer the questions (reread the case study if necessary). The teacher can go through and solve the discussion questions in order, or choose those that best suit the course and their learning objectives. Discussion questions help students think about the key issues raised by the case study. Discussion questions help students think about the key issues raised by the case study. In relation to the questions posed, the answers should be similar to the following:

Do you think the perception, attitude or behaviour of Starbucks customers and employees has changed or can change with regard to Syrian refugees?

Students’ reflections should refer to what social marketing can do to change the behaviour of North American society, considering the influence of a company like Starbucks. Students are expected to comment and discuss these and other aspects: (i) Educating consumers or employees about the positive influence of immigration; (ii) Developing a social movement for the integration of immigrants into the labour market; and/or (iii) Convincing the government to change the immigration policy.

Look for other social marketing campaigns and compare them to the Starbucks campaign (message, target audience, success, influence on quality of life).

Students must be clear about the topics that social marketing addresses to find other campaigns (smoking, obesity, diseases, social problems, etc.).

Do you see Starbucks corporate activism as opportunist? Justify your answer.

Students must identify the differences between an opportunistic strategy and the development of a long-term activist strategy, which is related to stakeholder values. To do this, they must start by defining corporate activism (sect. 1.1) and applying the CADM matrix (sect. 2.4) to justify Starbucks’ activist strategy as non-opportunistic.

Do you think that the Starbucks campaign improves the quality of life of employees, customers and investors? How?

Arguments in favour must be based on increased productivity, satisfaction, loyalty, efficiency, etc. using data in sect. 2.3 of this chapter. The arguments against must gravitate around the possibilities of a boycott suffered by the company, the reduction of its reputation by stakeholders contrary to the position of Starbucks, or the CEO’s own declaration as an action of personality without using the concept of political and/or social activism (sect. 2.2).

Third part. 15 minutes: close

The summary discussion should focus on what Starbucks has done so far and what the organisation faces in the future, as well as key quality of life indicators. The teacher could ask other questions for a final discussion: What specific steps should Starbucks take next? How can Starbucks inspire other companies to innovate in activism? Do you think Starbucks is likely to try and launch new social marketing campaigns?

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Sanchez Herrera, J., Pintado Blanco, T., Lopez Aza, C. (2021). Corporate Activism and Quality of Life: Starbucks Corporation Case Study. In: Galan-Ladero, M.M., Rivera, R.G. (eds) Applied Social Marketing and Quality of Life. Applying Quality of Life Research. Springer, Cham.

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Case Studies: Brands Successfully Communicating Their Values on Social Media

Oki Bin Oki

Do you ever wonder how top brands capture and keep their audience’s attention on social media? It’s not just luck—it’s the result of strategic, creative efforts. A strong social media presence is crucial in a world where over half the population is active on social media, and millions make purchases influenced by what they see online.

But what exactly makes these brands stand out? This blog will explore inspiring case studies from leading brands, revealing the secrets behind their successful social media strategies and demonstrating what you can learn from them.

Let’s uncover the magic behind their social media mastery and see how you can apply these lessons to your brand.

Table of Contents

Top Case Studies That Are Worth Reading

Let’s examine some real-life case studies where social media played a significant role in brand growth.

For years, the beauty industry perpetuated unrealistic standards of beauty. Dove, a personal care brand, took a stand against this with its iconic “Real Beauty” campaign, which used social media to redefine beauty and celebrate diversity.

Dove’s social media strategy tackled unrealistic beauty standards head-on. They launched campaigns like “The Evolution of Beauty,” showcasing the manipulation behind advertising images.  This resonated with women who felt bombarded with unattainable beauty ideals.

Dove actively promotes inclusivity and body positivity on social media.  Their campaigns feature models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages, challenging traditional notions of beauty.

Dove empowers its audience by highlighting user-generated content that celebrates natural beauty.   They encourage women to share their own stories and experiences, fostering a sense of community and acceptance.

The “Real Beauty” campaign has become a global phenomenon, sparking meaningful conversations about self-esteem and body image. Dove’s social media presence shows how a brand can use its platform to empower its audience and champion a positive cause.

If you too are keen on building a brand and being recognised wide and far through your campaigns, it is advisable to avail of services that are offering followers, likes, and views. This will help you in building an engaging community with whom you can share impactful stories, and stay true to your brand’s core values, which is critical to social media success.

Patagonia, the outdoor apparel company, is a shining example of a brand that seamlessly integrates its values into its social media presence. Its core values, such as environmental activism, quality products built to last, and a commitment to social responsibility, are woven into the fabric of its online strategy.

Patagonia’s social media feeds feature stunning visuals of nature alongside educational content about environmental issues. The company encourages activism by sharing petitions, partnering with environmental organizations, and amplifying the voices of outdoor enthusiasts who advocate for sustainability.

Patagonia is fearless in taking a stand on controversial environmental issues. They’ve used their platform to criticize harmful political policies and support grassroots movements fighting for environmental protection. This authenticity and commitment to their values resonate deeply with their environmentally conscious audience.

Patagonia’s social media strategy goes beyond simply selling products . They make a community by encouraging user-generated content with hashtags like #PatagoniaWorn and #ForceForGood.  This connects like-minded individuals who share the brand’s passion for the environment and inspires collective action.

The brand’s unwavering commitment to its values has earned it a loyal following, not just of customers but of passionate advocates for environmental causes. Their social media presence is a testament to the power of authenticity and purpose-driven marketing.

Ben & Jerry’s

Ben & Jerry’s, the famous iconic ice cream brand, is well known for its quirky flavors and unwavering commitment to social justice. Its social media presence vibrantly reflects its core values, which include social responsibility, fair trade practices, and community activism.

Ben & Jerry’s social media strategy is infused with humor and wit but tackles serious social issues. They use clever puns, memes, and infographics to address racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change.

Ben & Jerry’s actively partners with organizations that align with its values. It uses its social media platform to raise awareness for these causes and encourage its audience to get involved.

Ben & Jerry’s empowers its employees to be brand ambassadors on social media.  This creates a sense of authenticity and demonstrates that their commitment to social justice extends beyond marketing campaigns.

Ben & Jerry’s uses its voice to advocate for social change, and it has built a loyal following among consumers who share its values. Its social media presence reminds us that brands can be a force for good, using humor and creativity to tackle important social issues.


The iconic luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is known for its engineering excellence and sleek designs. However, its social media presence extends beyond showcasing horsepower. Mercedes-Benz weaves its core values—sustainability, innovation, and a commitment to the future—into its online strategy.

Mercedes-Benz uses its social media platform to highlight its efforts in developing electric and hybrid vehicles.  They share engaging content showcasing the beauty and performance of these sustainable options, positioning themselves as leaders in the future of mobility.

Beyond environmental initiatives, Mercedes-Benz engages in social responsibility initiatives. It partners with charities and foundations, using its social media platform to create awareness and encourage its audience to get involved.

Starbucks, the global coffee giant, has become a cultural touchstone. Its social media presence reflects its core values—community, inclusion, and ethical sourcing—creating a welcoming space for its customers.

Starbucks creates a community through social media. They encourage customers to share their in-store experiences using hashtags like #StarbucksMoments, which creates a space for connection and strengthens customer loyalty.

Starbucks embraces inclusivity in its social media strategy. It features diverse models, celebrates cultural holidays, and amplifies the voices of its employees from different backgrounds. This resonates with a global audience that values inclusivity and representation.

Starbucks uses social media to tell the stories behind its ethically sourced coffee beans. It highlights its partnerships with coffee farmers worldwide, demonstrating its commitment to fair trade practices.

Wrapping Up

These case studies showcase how brands can use their core values to achieve success on social media. Whether championing sustainability like Mercedes-Benz, creating a community like Starbucks, or inspiring through beauty like Dove, the key takeaway is clear: authentic values resonate with audiences and build lasting relationships.

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Transforming digital marketing with generative ai.

starbucks social media marketing case study

1. Introduction

2. background, 2.1. personalisation in digital marketing, 2.2. recommender system, 2.3. social media marketing, 2.4. search engine marketing, 2.5. email marketing, 2.6. concerns with digital marketing, 2.7. generative ai, 3. proposed framework, 3.1. defining marketing aim, 3.2. data collection, 3.3. data processing, 3.4. designing generative ai models, 3.5. training generative ai models, 3.6. evaluating generative ai models, 3.7. deploying generative ai models.

  • The framework aims to provide guidance for the digital marketing process, and there is no strict order to follow the stages in the process. This allows the unique demands of each project to be adapted and, therefore, ensures that specific marketing objectives can be addressed in the most efficient manner possible.
  • The process is iterative, meaning that steps can be repeated as necessary to refine and enhance outcomes. This enables continuous improvement and optimisation, allowing for adjustments based on new data, insights, or changes in the market.
  • Furthermore, the framework is only conceptual, and the process can be rolled back to previous stages at any time, ensuring a high degree of adaptability and responsiveness in their digital marketing efforts.

4. Case Study 1: Virtual Try-On

4.1. marketing aim, 4.2. data collection, 4.3. data processing, 4.4. model design, 4.5. model training, 4.6. evaluation, 4.7. deployment, 4.8. summary, 5. case study 2: image-to-video generation, 5.1. marketing aim, 5.2. data collection, 5.3. data processing, 5.4. model design, 5.5. model training, 5.6. evaluation, 5.7. deployment, 5.8. summary, 6. discussions, 7. conclusions, author contributions, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

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Islam, T.; Miron, A.; Nandy, M.; Choudrie, J.; Liu, X.; Li, Y. Transforming Digital Marketing with Generative AI. Computers 2024 , 13 , 168.

Islam T, Miron A, Nandy M, Choudrie J, Liu X, Li Y. Transforming Digital Marketing with Generative AI. Computers . 2024; 13(7):168.

Islam, Tasin, Alina Miron, Monomita Nandy, Jyoti Choudrie, Xiaohui Liu, and Yongmin Li. 2024. "Transforming Digital Marketing with Generative AI" Computers 13, no. 7: 168.

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  • DOI: 10.21512/becossjournal.v6i2.11794
  • Corpus ID: 270859559

Digital Marketing: A Case Study of Social Media Marketing of Indonesia Real Estate Companies

  • Herman Widjaja , Handri Santoso
  • Published in Business Economic… 31 May 2024

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