Think back to your childhood for a moment. Shuffle through those rusty brain files, and remember those Crayola 8-Pack markers, or if you were lucky, that 10-Pack. It’s coloring time!
The most cliché and unoriginal question ever posed to kids is arguably, “What’s your favorite color?” in that sickeningly sweet voice. Unfortunately, a child’s answer is not usually expected to be profound or insightful.
However, from a very young age, my favorite color was green, and I could identify exactly why. It was almost a process of elimination. I would doodle rainbows with my Crayola markers on a piece of white printer paper, one by one. Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Purple.
But let me tell you, if the color green was not on that piece of paper, something was terribly wrong. Visually, the picture appeared incomplete.
I was acutely aware of the fact that if green was missing, the page was simply an eyesore. On the contrary, if any other color was missing besides green, it was not visually disturbing to me at all.
Green had become my indispensable color. Naturally, it was from this realization that I decided it must also be my “favorite.”
So how does this relate to Starbucks’ public relations? The answer is just as simple. Starbucks wants to become indispensable to our daily lives.
Starbucks has been branding itself as a luxury that we can now enjoy in the comfort of our own homes. All we need is a Keurig or a Verismo, and a bunch of cute little coffee pods.
Starbucks is a client of the world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman. Public relations professionals at Edelman have succeeded in getting the public’s image of Starbucks to be one we cannot imagine a world without. So much so, Starbucks is practically on every street corner, and now it has even made its way into our homes.
Invasive, much? Exactly.
Starbucks has been trying to integrate its products into our everyday lives and make us believe its products are simply essential.
The wording in this picture says it all:
Starbucks is like the green in my rainbow. I can have a study session without Starbucks, but will I doze off? Yes. I can have a cup o’ Joe with a friend at Denny’s, but is it as fun? No. We like the experience of Starbucks and they know it. They created it.
Green is the glue that sticks the rainbow together, just as Starbucks is the glue keeping society together. (Or so they want us to perceive.)
Perhaps the most ironic part of this comparison between Starbucks and the role green plays in the rainbow is that Starbucks’ logo is also….green. If we see a logo with a green circle we can almost all guess that it is a Starbucks sign. Starbucks is iconic for its touch of green: green straws, green aprons, and green logo.
This company has branded itself as an integral part of society by functioning as a solution to your physical need for caffeine every day, and your social need for a meeting place. Even interviews and business meetings are conducted at Starbucks.
Starbucks is also like a rainbow because it is consistent with its products. You know the color order in a rainbow is always the same. You also know that a caramel macchiato is a caramel macchiato, whether you’re at a Starbucks in Chicago or in Tokyo.
I also think it is interesting that Starbucks repeatedly participates in current events. The most recently notable examples of this was when the company started a petition to end the U.S. government shutdown and when the CEO of Starbucks announced that guns are not welcome in their stores.
Not only is Starbucks trying to evolve its identity as relevant and timely, it is also a statement that Starbucks is important enough to our culture that it can comment about the news agenda without people saying, “Why would we care what this company thinks?”
By Lily Sherer
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.