Top Tips to Form a Community for a Cultural Role: Starbucks

27 Apr 2016|pughi

Starbucks’ brand purpose is ‘serving one cup, to one neighbour at a time’. They made it their mission to redefine what ‘neighbourhood’ meant to people, understanding that for most city dwellers this is no longer geographical, but is made up of a small number of disparate places that feel genuinely welcoming. They set about creating a place and a mind-set that feels like the heart of a community.

1. Prioritising People Over Processes
Starbucks holds its employees in high regard viewing them as the cornerstones of the community it develops; the barista is the ultimate touch-point. They encourage their employees to be friends, not just colleagues. They also rely upon their staff members to “bring society into the centre of Starbucks” – baristas in local stores will often write to the head office to tell them that a certain initiative is off brand.

2. Making Personal Gestures
When Starbucks launched their ‘names on cups’ initiative, it tapped into the knowledge that neighbourhoods for a great number of people are not about geography, they are about intimacy. Neighbours are where people know each other’s names. This small innovation was free, easy, and empowered the staff in each store to create an environment that felt truly welcoming.

3. Playing an Active Role in a Community
The employees in each Starbucks store are encouraged to talk to people about locals initiatives that matter to them, from an individual carer of a sick child, to the building of a new children’s playground. The stores take on the role of community hubs, with noticeboards that advertise everything from small businesses to local campaigns. In the UK Starbucks have worked with a connector social platform Neighbourly to connect with local causes. They use social media as a way to stay connected with key issues on scale, and each member of staff pledges hours of community service to their local area.

4. Creating the Milestones
Starbucks have managed to create unique moments and milestones that their community can share. The release of their red cups marks the beginning of the festive period and certain drinks – Pumpkin Spice Lattes and flavoured Frappuccinos – mark the turn of the seasons. They create buzz and excitement around these landmarks both in store and online, with fans linking to hashtags and sharing pictures, bringing their wide community together in celebration.

Written by Izzy Pugh, Head of Cultural Insight at Added Value.

image credits: Added Value.

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