Starbucks named world’s most buzzed about brand

February 5, 2013


Starbucks gives you a buzz, gets you buzzin’

According to the NBCUniversal Integrated Media Brand Power Index (BPI), of the top 500 brands consumers are talking about the most, Starbucks had the largest increase in consumer interest in 2012, growing 30 percent from 2011. Other brands that made the list include Burger King, Oreo and Red Bull—head over here for the full list of the world’s “buzziest brands.”

The BPI is a “Proprietary analysis—based on in-person conversations, social media chatter and search queries—is produced each quarter, then again annually.” While that doesn’t exactly sound scientific to us, we would like to make the case for why we agree that Starbucks is on fire right now.

“An early adopter of mobile payments,” BPI cites, “Starbucks announced a $25 million investment in the startup Square in August 2012, enabling the coffee chain to expand mobile-payment functionality to 7,000 stores by last fall. Paying for lattes with their mobile devices resonated with consumers and contributed to Starbucks’ 30 percent jump in buzz.”

Top four reasons that Starbucks is on fire

Starbucks is on fire because of their growth, innovation, experimentation, and the popularity of the visual web, not to mention that a 2012 study reveals Americans consume an average of 70 gallons of coffee each year, the average worker spends $1,092 on coffee each year, and commuters average a whopping $1,476.

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    Growth: Starbucks is growing wildly internationally, with massive growth in China, but in America alone, the brand already has over 13,000 retail stores. Starbucks has long been a metric for commercial developers to determine the worthiness of expanding into areas, and without a Starbucks already established or on the way, some developers won’t even break ground. It’s not just physical stores that Starbucks is growing, they are now expanding their grocery store offering through K-cups as well as their own proprietary coffee machines.
    Innovation: not only has the brand embraced mobile payment systems as previously mentioned, they have innovated in other, more surprising ways. For example, in the UK, Starbucks is experimenting with vending machines with over 280 drink combinations to choose from. The company has not said whether they will bring the machines to the U.S., but all eyes are on the possibility.
    Experimentation: Starbucks isn’t just experimenting with innovation, they’ve gone on an acquisition spree in recent years, allowing them to slowly try new concepts, like their Tazo tea store in Seattle. Tea stores will likely start popping up Starbucks-style as they’ve also acquired Teavana Holdings. They may experiment with different types of tea stores both retail (Teavana) and serving (Tazo) or, more likely, a combination of the two. The brand launched a light blend last year to attract more consumers, have added and will continue to add more food through their acquisition of La Boulange, and more juices with Evolution Fresh.
    Visual web: Starbucks is one of the most common daily destinations for Americans, right up there with the grocery store, if not more frequently. As a nation, we meet friends, family, and clients under Starbucks’ roofs, and with the rising popularity of Instagram, Pinterest, and the like, it has become extremely easy and interesting to post pictures of Starbucks cups. Trust us, it’s an extremely common image. Just take a look at three of many Starbucks shots pulled from my own Instagram account. Visual storytelling is only just heating up – if you thought checking in to locations a la Foursquare was hot, just wait – this puts Starbucks in a primo position to be “buzzed” about.


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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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