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Why I love Starbucks – a Marketing Graduate’s Point of View

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When it comes to coffee, Starbucks is my favourite. Not only for Instagram, but also in real life. And like any other Instagrammer out there, I’m always on the lookout for anything new that they launch.

But let’s leave the perfect looking coffee & the great taste aside and talk about how Starbucks is a great marketing Case Study.

The Unicorn Frappuccino

Starbucks is already quite a popular brand and is loved by people all around the world. And since their coffees are so #InstagramPerfect, it also makes it every Social Media Influencer’s favourite brand.

But when they came out with Unicorn Frappuccino, they proved why they are every Instagrammers favourite brand. There is no denying that the internet is obsessed with anything Unicorn from bath bombs to cakes. And when Starbucks officially announced the Unicorn Frappuccino and we saw how pretty it looked, everyone wanted it, whether you love unicorns or not.

Do we care what it tastes like?

No

Are we a coffee fan?

Not exactly.

Do we care how unhealthy it might be?

Not at all.

We do it all for the ‘gram.

Half of us went and bought it so that we could post it on our social media & make full use of the trending hashtags. I didn’t go to Starbucks, hell yeah, this coffee was not even released in Europe, but I still took advantage of the trending column all because we (bloggers) need content, views & likes. It seems shallow, but when you are blogger you can’t really be like “I don’t care about the views”.

The second half went in to see what all this about. I have personally done that so many times, not just with Starbucks but with a lot of things.

There was only a very small percentage that went in because they were actually interested in the coffee.

And this is not the first time something like this has happened. Remember the Starbucks Red Cup, every damn year.

But this was not the first Unicorn-inspired drink. There are many unicorn inspired foods and even a whole café but what makes this Starbucks drink so popular and trending?

Firstly, it was a limited-edition drink available only from April 19 -23 2017 or while supplies last. And so we all go rushing in before it’s all over. We may not get to know it but this instantly gives us a feeling of FOMO, so we ended up going to the nearest Starbucks after school or work to get it.

Secondly, unlike all the other unicorn inspired foods, this was not something that is available only in New York or California. They have 7049 company operated & 5292 licensed stores just in USA. That just means they were reaching way more people than any of the other cafes offering something similar.

Lastly, the price of a Unicorn Frappuccino was anywhere from $4.25 to $4.95, which not too much considering that Starbucks Frappuccino range starts from $3.75 (excluding the Iced Coffee). So it was not heavy on your pocket.

So yes, this was bound to be popular but exactly how popular was the Unicorn Frappuccino? Let’s have a look at some numbers.

#unicornfrappuccino had approx 86,000 posts on Instagram in less than 24 hours of its launch.

On twitter, #unicornfrappuccino had 51,700 tweets & 33,300 retweets in less than 24 hours of its launch.

 There were 34,000 people talking about this keyword on Facebook within a few hours.

As someone who has worked in Social Media Marketing for food brands, these numbers are phenomenal.

The coffee had become so popular that it was already sold out in some places before the 20th April.

While we are looking at numbers, lets also look at why The Unicorn Frappuccino was bound to be successful according to marketing concepts.

Often you will hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place and at the right time. Let’s break this down for The Unicorn Frappuccino. It is unicorn-themed drink that looks really pretty, is not that costly, is available all throughout USA, Canada & Mexico and is launched at a time when the internet & everyone is obsessed with all things Unicorn. That just makes it a perfect recipe for success.

And this is when we haven’t even talked about the most important aspect of marketing i.e. Promotion. A lot of people on social media said that practically all of us are doing a free promotion for Starbucks by posting about the Unicorn Frappuccino and we shouldn’t be doing that and influencers should be paid to promote it and so on. My only question to them is, did Starbucks ask them to promote it for free? Starbucks just informed everyone that “Hey look we have a new product, you guys should try it out.”  People went in & bought the product because they wanted to. And the best part is that people talking about it are doing so while using #UnicornFrappuccino . I’m not saying they are wrong. Starbucks should have paid these people if they were running an influencer marketing campaign. But they were not running any campaign, all of these posts were the influencer’s personal choice.

To end, I just want to say you may love it or hate it but you can’t deny that Starbucks is a very popular brand & anything they do will always become viral.

P.S.: Sorry for such a long post but I felt like writing about this topic and you may disagree with me and I’m all fine with that.

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