Case Study: How Starbucks Used Community Marketing

We all want to give our customers the most authentic and genuine experience. We believe in our brands, and we know the value that it can add to their lives, so we share who we are and what we do in ways that will create connections with them and forge long term loyalty.

A deeper exploration of that concept comes in the form of Community Marketing which involves creating a space where customers can connect, share experiences, and build relationships with each other and this community building is facilitated by the brand in a non-intrusive, nurturing way. Community Marketing helps to foster loyalty, increase customer engagement, and ultimately drive business growth.


Starbucks are passionate purveyors of coffee and everything else that goes with a rewarding coffeehouse experience. In addition to high-quality whole-bean coffee roasts, they offer teas, fine pastries and other delectable treats to please the taste buds. The music heard in store is chosen for its artistry and appeal. People come to Starbucks to chat, meet up or work. Starbucks aims to be the place people can count on to get genuine service, an inviting atmosphere and a superb cup of expertly roasted and richly brewed coffee every time.


To cerement themselves as an entity dedicated to strong communities Starbucks had to take an action that would cause a all their communities to unite, draw closer to each other, and grow together.


Starbucks decided to start calling their employees, “partners”. The people who are the most important to the Starbucks experience – which is the most important part of the Starbucks brand – are now being named as having a stake in the company. This motivates them to not only stay true to the brand, and commit to providing that excellent experience, but also to share how they do so, and to shine a spotlight on members of the community who appreciate and contribute to the atmosphere as well. This connection between the partners and the community gave rise to a volunteer initiative where those in need are put in contact with those who are able to be of service.


The Starbucks online community has generated over 150,000 ideas that have been implemented hundreds of times.  Developing a sense of belonging among your customers is an essential part of your marketing strategy, but don’t forget your employees, their motivation will increase their desire to participate in and promote the community we are all passionate about building.

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