Starbucks Social Good

Did you know that holding a part-time job at Starbucks can grant you 100% tuition coverage at elite state colleges? Or, that they collect all unused food at every store at the end of every day and donate it to Feeding America? These are only two of Starbucks’ many social impact programs fueling their mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.

Speak Purposefully, Not Loudly

Chances are, you hadn’t heard about Starbucks’ global social good impact. These deeply held convictions were getting lost in the sea of content filtering through consumers fingertips. It was time to have a different kind of conversation. Our approach was to architect an always-on, cross-platform content operations strategy. We set out to light up their feed with a new, always-on conversation that would highlight their immense positive impact on the world.

Be Clear. Be Specific. Be Unique.

Consumers are deeply skeptical of big brands trying to do good in the world. Most social impact content is sappy, unclear, unspecific, and strikingly similar from brand to brand. To truly break through on cluttered feeds, we needed to create content unique to the Starbucks brand—succinct, relatable and surprising. After immersing ourselves in the Starbucks world, a remarkably consistent story about the brand values and social impact agenda emerged. “We are investing in people, we believe in them, and at the end of the day we have that responsibility.” Our conversations with stakeholders also helped us clarify what Starbucks’ values mean to customers and connect purchasing behavior with real world impact.

Effecting Unseen Change

Most brands tackle issues on a macro level—making grand pronouncements with little impact. Starbucks does it on a micro level—partner by partner—effecting unseen change that is deeply effective regardless. Normalizing their social impact work so customers understand that it’s core to the brand was key; making it feel meaningful but also ordinary, because doing good is business as usual.

Content Operations

With a strategic foundation established, we embarked on an 8 month journey to bring these stories to the feed. We set up a series of content shoots across the country with a corresponding team ready to edit and deliver content in real-time. Our work commenced in North Carolina with Fiamma followed by Bethany in Texas. Both recent recipients of the Starbucks College Achievement Plan; 100% tuition coverage at Arizona State University. We then came back to the Pacific Northwest for Veterans Day to share stories of the courage military spouses exhibit daily. We then shifted our focus to the brand’s commitment to raising food insecurity awareness through rescuing 100% of food that would otherwise be discarded from their stores via a partnership with Feeding America.

Results

Serving up ways Starbucks helps real people live fuller lives across all of their channels gave a unique look at how the coffee giant continues to treat employees as its most valuable, vital resource.

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