A recent survey by the Hub Magazine notes that Starbucks’ “social responsibility” more favorably impacts their customer loyalty than other category leader brands: Amazon, Apple, Target, Proctor & Gamble and L.L. Bean. Only Patagonia, Whole Foods and Trader Joes matched Starbucks in having more favorable than combined “unfavorable and not a factor” votes.
How has Starbucks has turned social responsibility to a positive brand advantage when many other category leaders have not? A few intriguing conclusions:
One – their stance on social responsibility impacts the less frequent customers. Many responded they are occasional customers and are not necessarily a fan of Starbucks coffee.
Two – they have made their story very visible throughout their store.
Three – many customers admit that they feel better about paying a “premium” for a product that employs fair trade practices.
We know from countless research that consumers want to identify with a brand beyond the rational product benefits. A big part of brand value is what they do to be a good community “steward.” Starbucks clearly has the game plan down in this area.