What a #RedCup can teach you about customer engagement

Sweater weather, the smell of gingerbread cookies, neighboring houses decked in holiday lights and Starbucks Red Cups – these are all telltale signs the holiday season is upon us. When we think of the holidays, Peppermint Mochas and Caramel Brulée Lattes served in iconic Starbucks red cups more often come to mind over Rudolph and Santa’s helpers. So what can we learn from Starbucks phenomenal success with its Red Cup campaign year after year? With consumers in a giving mood during the holiday season, brands have the opportunity to tap into the holiday spirit to generate excitement and drive business value. Seasonal triggers like the beginning of the holidays signal a new opportunity to invite consumers to visit your venue and take part in a fresh experience. Here are 4 key takeaways from Starbucks’ success that can help you see results for your business:

1. Connect with the savvy digital consumer

Bring your campaign to life with an integrated approach that shows an understanding of your target demographic and where they spend their time online. To kick off its Red Cup campaign, Starbucks hosted a five day #RedCupContest on Instagram. Brands can similarly draw on the platform’s visual aspect and storytelling potential. By empowering consumers to tell their own stories, brands can help amplify its unique value in an organic way.

Starbucks Red Cup Instagram

Taking its hero product one step further, Starbucks tapped into the emoji craze and partnered with Twitter to create a Red Cup emoji – making it the second brand after Coke to create a bespoke emoji. The emoji appears when Twitter users mention #RedCup or #RedCups. Brands can also zero in on consumer habits of social sharing, focusing on the experience and feelings its products evoke rather than the product itself.

2. Tie to timely events and opportunities

There’s a lot of excitement at the end of the summer to celebrate back-to-school season and ring in the New Year. Tie back these feelings to your hero product and forecast for similar opportunities relevant to your brand to drive business value. Starbucks ties itself to the beginning of the seasons. Like the Red Cups tied to the holiday season, the ever-so popular Pumpkin Spice Latte marks the start of fall. Brainstorm and question what makes your product unique – are you offering a different experience or ambience? Whether that’s tying to holiday cheer, think about how your brand can break through the clutter with a social campaign that resonates with your audience. Hosting a contest incentivizes consumers to contribute user-generated content and can turn them into advocates for your brand. Starbucks ever-growing engagement numbers speak volumes on holiday anticipation: 405,757 #RedCups and #RedCup hashtag mentions and 39,270 #RedCupContest hashtag mentions. Give your customers something to be excited about and they can be your next brand champions.

3. Build brand awareness and anticipation

Every brand has the potential to connect with consumers with its own unique selling point – it’s all about unlocking that potential. Starbucks brews up a bit of nostalgia with all of its drinks: From sipping on a kid hot chocolate to the adult-sophisticated Flat White, a lot of consumers grew up with Starbucks Red Cups. They tie these holiday treats with fond memories shared with friends and family. The Red Cup campaign has been running for years, since 1997, helping to build long-term awareness and anticipation among consumers. When Halloween’s over, there’s a lot of excitement for kicking off the holiday season with a Red Cup. For brands just starting out, be consistent and patient with building awareness over time.

4. Insight into the visitor experience

Think back to your customer’s journey and how you can make their life easier or more enjoyable. When visitors step into your venue, what value add-ons can up the ante and package together a great experience? With the holiday season in full swing, Starbucks fans are excited to fulfill a yearly tradition like wrapping up a long day of shopping with a warm drink. With increased traffic in-stores, brands can anticipate and resolve customer issues with convenient perks, like Starbucks that offers wireless charging via Powermat Charging Spots, WiFi and a loyalty program. These are all part of Starbucks’ unique value proposition that compels people to return and stay longer. Powermat can help brands connect in new ways and solves a charging problem. For business owners, understanding how long consumers stay at Charging Spots and the peak times for a recharge means you can better understand the customer journey and continue serving up a sweet experience; maybe even sweeter than your next Caramel Brulée Latte.

If you’re a business owner looking to enhance your marketing initiatives and deliver a better customer experience consider a wireless charging solution in your stores or venues. Please contact us to learn more about how Powermat can help to mobilize your venue and deliver value to your business.