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Engineering The Starbucks Experience


Engineering The Starbucks Brand Experience

In 2002 Starbuck’s shared its guiding principles for brand building. Do they still ring true?

•Starbucks brand is its product, its people and its in-store experience.

•Starbuck’s brand promise: For curious and discerning adults, Starbucks provides the best coffee experience that enriches lives.

•Starbucks strives to create an inviting, enriching experience that is stylish and elegant and that provides people with respite, time out and a personal treat. The experience is designed to enhance sensory signals.

•Starbucks romances coffee drinking. It encourages its employees to approach coffee with a wine steward mentality.

•Involvement and personal interaction is key to the Starbucks experience. Starbucks strives to be authentic and stand for something through passionate and committed employees.  It promotes treating people with respect and dignity.

Excerpted from Nancy Barnet’s (Strategic Liaison Director, Starbucks Coffee Company) presentation at the 2002 Summit on Internal Communications, October 22,2002, Chicago, IL.

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Eli Portnoy (The Brand Man Speaks!) on June 20th, 2007 said


Great Post…and isn’t it interesting to see how Starbucks has evolved?

The brand still keeps a few toes in the original water but clearly has put its biggest toe into another pond.
I will share this on my blog, The Brand Man Speaks.



Lewis Green on June 20th, 2007 said


I managed internal communications at Starbucks for four years: Our primary role was internal brand building. I can assure you that the philosophy that drove Starbucks growth is that great brands are built from the inside out, beginning and ending with employees. And that very little budget was invested in external marketing, including advertising. I have been gone for nearly a decade, but the stores I visit regularly still have that passion for the brand.

Derrick Daye on June 20th, 2007 said

Thanks Eli & Lewis.

I must say, I’m missing the big couches and chairs…to me they are one of the pillars of the coffee shop experience, meant to punctuate that this is a place to slow down and relax.

I don’t see that in my many travels to various Starbucks. I equate this with the bun getting bigger and the patty getting smaller. I want more from the experience. As for the employees on the front lines, I’ve never been disappointed.



  1. Anonymous - June 20, 2007

    Branding Strategy Insider: Engineering the Starbucks Experience

    In 2002 Starbuck’s shared its guiding principles for brand building. Five years later do they still ring true?

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