Starbucks: Strategies and Competitive Landscape

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Starbucks: Digital Strategies

This research has provided two case studies of digital marketing campaigns launched by Starbucks that have been highly effective. Both campaigns — #ExtraShotOfPride and #WhiteCupContest — were launched within the past two years. Research reveals that Starbucks is leveraging experiential marketing on social media to drive engagements with its users.

#ExtraShotOfPride Campaign

  • Starbucks is known for its unique and engaging social media campaigns that grab the attention of users. In June 2019, the company started running a digital campaign to celebrate Pride month. This campaign was also aimed at supporting the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.
  • According to a report by Influencer Marketing Hub, Starbucks delivered this campaign successfully by leveraging the popularity of an existing trend. By taking advantage of the existing social sentiment shared by people who celebrate Pride month, Starbucks easily connected with its audience.
  • As part of its campaign for the Pride month, it posted colorful pictures of members of the LGBTQ community and also introduced them. Starbucks asked people to learn more about members of the community by checking out their stories/highlights.
  • For this campaign, the coffee brand used both Instagram posts and stories. Also, "attention-grabbing visual imagery" was used to make people click on its posts and stories.
  • In terms of hashtag strategy, Starbucks used #ExtraShotOfPride as its branded hashtag. It also used #Pride, a popular industry hashtag. By creating a branded hashtag, the company encouraged its employees and customers to share their pictures using the hashtag.
  • Also, the currently trending and popular industry hashtag "got them the desired visibility and reach that they [could not] have gotten themselves".
  • According to the H Hub, Starbucks' branded "hashtag, #ExtraShotOfPride, pushed the [brand's] social media campaign to new heights". Data from Instarix reveals that the #extrashotofpride hashtag has generated up to 4,110 posts so far.
  • In terms of content and conversations surrounding Pride in 2019, Sprinklr reports that Starbucks ranks as one of the top brands with a remarkable 95,563 likes on Instagram.


  • In 2018, Starbucks leveraged a user-generated content (UGC) campaign. Through its famous #WhiteCupContest, Starbucks was able to bring fans closer to its brand.
  • Starbucks asked its "customers to get creative and doodle their best designs on their white paper cups". As part of the campaign, the coffee company announced that the best entry would be used as a "template for new limited-edition coffee cups to hit Starbucks’ stores".
  • This campaign was remarkably successful and was a great way to gain publicity. Shortly after being launched, the campaign received nearly "4,000 entries in just three weeks".
  • Even after the competition was over, the #WhiteCupContest campaign drove continuous engagement. Its success grew both online and in-store.
  • In celebrating the winning design, Starbucks "[introduced] it as a limited-edition cup within its stores, which customers went crazy for and couldn’t wait to snap and upload their photos to social media".