Starbucks: Place No. 3 Strategy │ Sense of Belonging ,Scent of Coffee

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“Every day we go to work, hoping to do two things: sharing great coffee with our friends, and a little help to make this world better.” Says Starbucks, which started its single shop  since 1971 in Washington (Seattle), and keens to provide the finest kinds of roasted coffee.

In 1981, Howard Schultz (head of Starbucks and Executive Director) joined to Starbucks Corporation, in 1983 he traveled to Italy and has captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience, at that time he had a vision to bring the traditions of Italian cafes to the United States (a place for the exchange  and sharing of talks, and a sense of belong to society, (a third place between work and home).

Since that day, Starbucks was able to have more than 21,000 shop in more than 65 countries around the world, as many of the products offered through its website, in addition to a variety of services such as news, video clips, customer services, and business; has gotten many awards, most recently the company’s most moral in the world award in 2015 for the ninth time (Ethisphere Foundation).

According to (Business insider, USA),  up to $ 10 billion were spent in 2014 on Starbucks drinks around the world, in 2015 its shares index in the stock exchange rose (Nasdaq: SBUX) to an estimated 40%, it is the highest level ever.

Starbucks describes itself as different from others, as they not only introduce coffee and its  traditions, but provided with a sense of communication and feeling of connection; the mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time ; it also pay a great attention to give their customers wonderful café experience, that is not easily forgotten.

Starbucks strives to make its shops favorable place for anyone wants to meet another to talk, or work; regards itself as a gathering place for members of the neighborhood and part of their daily habits, which expresses that “We are much more than we offer”; it shows through their selection for the design and cafe furniture, coffee odors wafting the place, and the sounds of selected music.


Starbucks: A Non-Traditional Marketing.

Although Starbucks is keen to impact the life of each client, we note that it is far from the traditional advertising, and hardly to see any advertising, whether on TV or the Internet or newspapers, with the exception of a few do not exceed fingers of one hand! The vast majority of us have never seen, it seems that Starbucks does not pay great attention; why?.

Advertisements often focus on the definition of the product, or explain how to use the product and what makes it even more memorable than others, or to make consumer buy it as a result of feeling that product gives to him (Refreshment as example of Pepsi); so, advertisers focus on the product as a commodity to gain more buyers; however, this is not consistent with the vision of Starbucks, as it considers itself as  a part of the client’s life and his third place after home and work, a place to communicate and to rest, to experience rich emotions mixed with the scent of coffee, revive the thought, and drinking tea while working!

Starbucks is away from commercialization of their products, On the contrary, it have human emotional content, this cannot be delivered by traditional ads. Starbucks is working on building of long-term loyalty, and strong relationship between them and their customers, therefore considered to be part of their lives, not a passing advertisement. In this context, efforts are being made to supply its shops with the finest kinds of coffee, focus on decorating, Furnishing music, internet services, and finally the scent of coffee that are compatible with their quest to be the third place in the client’s life.

Place No. 3 strategy, an unprecedented experience for Customer.

According to Matthew Dollinger in Fast Company magazine, says Kelly (one of Starbucks managers): We want to provide all the comforts of your home and office.  You can sit in a nice chair, talk on your phone, look out the window, surf the web… oh, and drink coffee too,” said Kelly. “The idea behind customer service here is to make it one that isn’t just good, we want to make it Great.  If people have a BAD experience, they’ll tell 7 people.  If they have an average experience they’ll tell no one.  If they have a GREAT experience, they’ll tell 2-3.  Making it a great experience though, isn’t just about service.  If they have a problem (bad drink, cracked lid, etc.), we want to do everything to make it right, then and there.”, she adds:” We approach everything in our store from a ‘What I would want’ mentality.  The music, the cleanliness, the service… everything has to be what we would want if we came in as a customer.”

The keenness of Starbucks reflected obvious and inherent in its culture by granting the client a deep sense of satisfaction toward his experience in its shops anywhere, as this sense of satisfaction which resulted of hard work on all aspects of comfort, quality, relaxation and excellence, will produce the loyalty and a great love, brings marketers to the company whom they use the most influencing  marketing mechanism ” Viral Marketing” or known as the Word of Mouth, then build a reputation of excellence, which is reflected on the company’s strength as a brand and raising the sales.

Starbucks keenness on customer satisfaction reflected through all aspects of work within the company, notably in the selection of qualified staff whom they will adopt the culture of Starbucks and its vision of coffee as a drink to communicate and relax. Says Kelly: ” When we look at hiring someone we always ask the question, ‘What does coffee mean to you?’  For some people it’s simply a pick me up in the morning.  For me, who never drank coffee before, it was something that brought people together.  It’s a conversation piece, something that opens the doors between people or allows others to simply lose themselves and relax“. Also  extends the matter to the training of staff before start working, says: ” Our entire training process is learning by example.  We have new employees shadow experienced people to learn how to make the drinks, how to talk with customers, how to interact.  You can’t learn that kind of thing from a book“; she adds:” Good attitude, curious into what the customer needs/wants, outgoing, and conversational without overstepping any boundaries.  This type of person is not only an asset to the team, but the customer as well.

Through “Place No. 3 Strategy” Starbucks is to focus on giving the customer a unique experience, by tracking all tangibles and intangibles needs and desires, create emotional connection and an unprecedented romantic experience, makes Starbucks is better choice after home and work, and part of life, not only because of the quality of the coffee, but because of the desire to return this emotional experience again and again.

Starbucks concentration is everything that would add value to the customer experience, very seriously, through accuracy and care to all details; if we look at the leader in today’s world companies, we find that the interest is focused on customer needs and desires, and to unique experience that successful companies are keen to get them when customers use their products or services.


ترجمهُ للإنجليزية: د. محمد العضايلة.

مراجعة: أسماء اليحيى.