PR Activities: Starbucks Focuses Hiring Strategy on Veterans and Military Spouses

On the Starbucks Newsroom website, I found this article about Starbucks hiring US veterans, which reminds me of the improvement on brand image that PR activities can bring. Starbucks announced to adopt a comprehensive hiring platform for veterans and active duty spouses in anticipation of a 500,000 person in the future global workforce. This action will not only decrease the high unemployment rate of veteran groups, but also help Starbucks build and maintain a positive image, showing that it produces tasty coffee & beverages along with supporting the community to become more socially sustainable.

By publishing articles online and releasing news, Starbucks made efforts to let potential consumers realize the incredible value that Starbucks has created. It emphasized the idea that many veterans are talented individuals who have team work skills, high level of integrity, the ability to handle stress and learn to utilize those transferable skills into workplace. Hiring those individuals are beneficial to both the veteran community and Starbucks itself.

To enhance the positive impact of this PR activity, Starbucks emphasized the fact that it received the recognition and applause from Joining Forces which spoke on behalf of the First Lady and Dr. Biden. The great brand image and reputation that a successful PR activity creates will definitely motivates more companies to think about how to reward the community and make smart business decisions just like Starbucks. Most importantly, the PR activity has to do something real good for the society, otherwise there may be serious backfire incurred to damage the brand image.

Video: Interview with veterans who are hired by Starbucks


RE: “From MEC to MEH…” Starbuck’s Rebranding Shows its New Strategy

Anita’s blog inspired me to write another blog about brand repositioning. Here is the link to her blog for your convenience.

Rebranding refers to a strategy in which marketers change a brand’s focus to target new markets or realign the brand’s core emphasis with changing market preferences. Often companies and brands need to reposition or rebrand themselves in order to stay up to date with society and often due to losses in market share.

In 2011, Starbucks abandoned the external ring of it brand name, which turned out to be simpler. This action implied that Starbucks would extend to more other fields.  Howard Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks, said in a webcast: “We’ve allowed [the Siren] to come out of the circle in a way that gives us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee.” The high recognition degree of its logo will unconsciously impose Starbucks’ brand image to its new products. Due to consumers’ trust and loyalty, it will lead to success in popularize its new products.

With the evolution of the brand logo, consumers can taste the changes in Starbucks’ business strategy which is to further implement its brand extension, such as snacks, coffee mugs, candies… Meanwhile, it stays loyal to the image of Siren – a storyteller, who carries the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembers their past; a muse, that is always there, inspires them and pushes them ahead. (Steve.M)


Since the myth of siren is well known to consumers, the picture of siren is chosen. Siren is part of the culture which indicates that Starbucks is a brand with deep meaning. Thus, customers will define the brand as of high quality and classy, and keep buying its coffee and more.




Re: Good Beer Deserves Good Packaging

This blog post is a reply to author Adam Sadowski’s Good Beer Deserves Good Packaging.

Good packaging for beers can tell a story and make people wonder what’s on the inside. It can also bring an unique experience to beer-drinkers who are not only looking for tasty beers, but an authentic and aesthetic feeling when spending quality time with family, friends or themselves.

Heineken is not only famous for its high quality beer, but the initiation of the redesign campaign by customers/designers themselves to celebrate its 140th year in the beer business. Your Future Bottle Design Challenge puts an extensive archive of some 250 treasured items and images from the brand’s archives in the hands of designers around the world for use as inspiration.The theme of the designing is connection and future.


Competition: Heineken Future Bottle Design Challenge 2013

Heineken involves its consumers with the company’s history, development, as well as its value and believes. Besides the redesign campaign, Heineken addresses technological innovations, which can be adopted in packaging the beer products to provide better drinking, clubbing and social experience.

It launched a fun “Smart” bottle, which can respond according to the surrounding. Clinking two of them together for a toast causes them both to light up simultaneously, while taking a drink causes the LEDs to flicker rapidly. Setting one of them down for a moment will also trigger a sleep mode, where it slowly dims until it’s picked up again. The lights can even be controlled remotely to have them match up with a musical beat, turning a party into a synchronized light show.

Heineken: Ignite Story

Heineken emphasis the importance of packaging which brings the additional value to beer-drinkers and party people who are looking for tasty beer and fun experience.



Craft Breweries Utilize Social Media

Troika Brodsky, St. Louis Brewery’s communications director, believed that part of what makes the craft-beer industry so accessible and successful is the fact that consumers know the faces and names of the people who made it all happen. People are far more attracted a product that they can relate to, and you just can’t do better than hanging out and drinking beers with the folks who made it.

Now, the sense of familiarity, accessibility and community translates to social media.

Advantages of social media for small-sized craft breweries:

–          Social media is a transparent platform to let actual consumers see how the brewery is dealing with their products, services and customers, especially there are unpleasant experience occurred.

–          It is cost-effective to benefit both growing breweries and insatiable consumers who are looking for craft beer options and information about beers. Small, medium-sized breweries cannot afford the Super Bowl, but they can well organize their social media accounts.

–          Since most small craft breweries are community-oriented and depend on community’s support, social media is able to create a community for beer-lovers and let the brewery hear their voices and talk to them in-person when fellows come to store and check-in on Facebook showing that they are hanging out here with friends. The owner may be able to come out and invite them for two pints of free beers.

Disadvantages of social media:

–          It is difficult to convey in-depth message and diverse information through social media compared with the traditional newsletter, etc.

Another thing that breweries should avoid is that when becoming massive, it should never forget listening to what the community wants. Holding Tasting Festivals or having Friday Nights Gathering Specials is always a good way to bring folks together and develop customer loyalty.



Business Ethics: Falsly Advertising Leads to PR Disaster

Once a good brand is involved with false advertisement, it can suffer from a huge loss of customers, criticisms from various media, penalty from the government authorities, etc. Disastrously, the valuable brand imagine will be destroyed, leading to devastating public relation problems.

Benefiting from the giant yet developing market in China, some transnational corporations started to forget their promises in good food quality and how they once benefit from their once reliable and exceptional brand reputation.

The popular fast food restaurant KFC had experienced several PR disasters, coming from its misleading advertisement and food safety problems. In 2011, KFC advertised its popular soybean milk as “pure” and “natural”, presenting its customers with pictures of ground soybeans as if it was produced from them. However, many customers have witnessed that KFC staff used soybean milk powder or concentrated soybean milk to replace the ground bean.

Soybean milk is a traditional Chinese drink, and Chinese customers extremely value the purity and healthiness of the milk, preferring the traditional process of producing it. Comparing with those unreliable street vendors without food certificates, Chinese customers trusted KFC’s food quality so that they were willing to pay six times higher the price than the regular price in local supermarkets to buy their soybean milk. Yet, the falsely advertised commercial completely wiped out people’s interests in the product, also led to huge mistrust and criticisms to the brand among the society.

A remarkable brand image and solid reputation can help the company grow sustainably. For those famous franchised restaurants, they should maintain the high standard and treat their customers around the world responsibly and equally. In the case of KFC, some Chinese customers even questioned why those transnational companies cannot guarantee the food quality globally and comply with their promises and visions in a different country. I think that this is a discrimination and inequality towards developing countries in the form of bad management decision in terms of marketing.