CHICAGO: Starbucks, the coffee house chain, is seeking to utilise sponsorship and partnerships to enhance brand love in its home town of Seattle.

Erin Combs, Starbucks’ senior manager/community partnerships, discussed these efforts during a session at the 2018 IEG Sponsorship conference.

“Our hometown-initiative goal is to build brand love and to tell our story through a locally relevant lens,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How global brand Starbucks makes a local connection in Seattle.)

The main challenge, Combs added, is “to take all of the good work and the incredible relationship that people globally have with the Starbucks brand and make that locally relevant.”

Among the activations she pointed to were Starbucks’ affiliation with Little Big Show, an annual concert series, the yearly Seafair festival, and an on-going relationship with the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL franchise.

One of its primary goals with such programs is “building brand love and creating local relevance [which] is entirely based on connecting with local consumers,” Combs said.

“While our metrics may not be specifically tied to transactions, engaging our local audience and connecting with local community members in a relevant way will build loyalty [and] trust that will improve our reputation and, ultimately, protect our business for the long term.”

A second aim involves social impact. “The good work that Starbucks is doing around the globe is an incredible brand story. But the [local] work that we’re doing with veterans, youth, sustainability and coffee is a powerful story as well,” said Combs.

“We want to leverage our local efforts to amplify that story and tell people locally in the Seattle community what we’re doing.”

Equally important, she suggested, is to make employees proud to work for the company. “We know that customers continue to come to Starbucks because of that relationship that they have with their baristas,” Combs said.

“So, we want those [12,000] partners who are in Seattle to feel extraordinarily proud. And we want the partners to be more engaged than you might find in other markets.”
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Sourced from WARC