Starbucks: A Brewing Case Study

A window into the world of coffee and much more!

Coffee has become a necessity over the era! Right from morning memes to evening talks, ‘everything happens over coffee’. Gradually with time, coffee hasn’t just become a beverage it is also a subject for many enthusiasts to talk about, debate, invent and invest in! We all grew up from 10 vali tapri ki coffee to 1000 vali Starbucks coffee. And now that we are adults, a Monday morning is incomplete without a dark cup of coffee just like the sky is incomplete without its sun! 

starbucks lady enjoying coffee

The Journey of Starbucks!

Inspired by a Dutch Immigrant Pete, the three founders of Starbucks – Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker, and Zev Siegl started their own premium range of coffee chains in the historic markets of Seattle. Just like the founders of DigitalFry who bonded over food, these three bonded over coffee and tea! 

That is how the first outlet of Starbucks was opened in the year 1971 near Pike Place, Seattle. From 1971 to 2022, Starbucks has had an exciting journey which we shall discover in the following blog! Shall we?

The 70s: A decade of struggle

Starbucks opened its first store at Pike Place, Seattle. By the mid-decade, when there was a huge freeze on the Brazillia coffee crop and thus, Starbucks struggled to survive. By the end of the decade, one of the founders (Zev Siegle) left the company. 

The 80s: A New Direction to Starbucks

Starbucks got its new direction after Howard Schultz joined as the director of retail and operations. Then the entire decade was the ‘Schultz-cade’ He went to Italy where he found his breakthrough product – ‘latte’ After which there was a huge surge in the business sales. 

The 90s: All About Expansion

In the 90s, all Starbucks knew was expansion and profits! Starbucks had introduced the first-ever drive-thru. The 90s were all about Starbucksreaching in every part of the USA. It was in this decade that one of the founders sold the shares too, and the employees had partial consideration of the other set of shares. 


Getting Around Marketing


There are 4Ps of marketing, and the most important one is the ‘Product’. Starbucks was sure of the fact that it had to sell premium coffee and thus imported it from Pete. Along with that, there was an array of products running from tea, baked food, smoothies, frappuccinos, and in some stores merch too! 

Starbucks imports premium Arabica beans and then these beans go ahead into your cups giving you a taste of the premium coffee you paid for! Starbucks is not only famous for coffee but for its other range of products too. The low-fat, low-gluten food products that do not put the consumers on a ‘guilt trip’ help Starbucks attract a richer section of society who want ‘healthy cheat meals’


Starbucks wanted to tap into the premium category of consumers, thus the price range was simply expensive. It wanted to portray that the coffee you drink here, is worth the money you pay. It didn’t want to be go-to coffee but a ‘get-to’ coffee! This is how the consumers made a psychological note of the brand being premium. 


Every Starbucks outlet, be it national or international is located at a premium place. It sits in an aesthetic location where the ‘Richie Rich’ gang goes often. This again illuminates the fact that Starbucks is a premium brand. Other than that, the interiors of Starbucks are ‘instagrammable’ which is why it appeals more to the millennials and thus increases the footfall. Uploading a story of the ‘Green Lady’ whilst you are working at Starbucks has become a trend everyone wants to jump on! Starbucks has 32,600 coffeehouse chain stores in 83 countries worldwide and offers varieties of coffee and other food products. In addition, Starbucks has 12,711 company-operated stores, which accounts for about 51% of the total number of stores, and 12,374 licensed Starbucks stores represent approximately 49% of the total stores


In 1981, Howard Schultz wrote history with outstanding promotional techniques at Starbucks. The consumers who came to the store weren’t fully acquainted with the coffee. Hence, he along with his team created a consumer-friendly model to help the consumers get well versed with coffee. Interactive conversations, brochures, and time were of the essence. This was the initial-most strategy, after which came along too! 

Be it offline or online marketing, Starbucks had it all planned. Their social media page, sales promotion techniques, and acquisition techniques are all aimed at one thing – consumers! In fact, they changed their trolls into revenue as well. Remember when Starbucks was famous for misspelling and mispronouncing names? Although it could be a genuine human mistake, this mistake helps Starbucks gain more footprints! 

An error is amplified higher, thus, when a barista misspells the name of a consumer, it goes on the story. There is a hashtag and the consumer has also tagged the outlet. This helps the brand to get its traction organically without any given brainstorming or money! 

starbucks in office

Summing Up!

The above case study stated strategies and a few facts that helped us understand Starbucks. To summarize the entire blog in one sentence, it is safe to say that, ‘Starbucks used its data, innovation, and invention to become the tycoons of the coffee industry’ To get into the detail, there is more to marketing than just the 4Ps. In reality, there are 7Ps, however, in this case, study four Ps are explored! 

Other than that, Starbucks is stronger at the brand personality frontier too! Did you know that the name ‘Starbucks’ is inspired by a comic book named Moby Dick? After finalizing the name, the entire team immersed itself in various submarine books and came across a nautical figure. Yes! The Starbucks lady is known as a siren, someone who allures the people in. Although a siren does not really fit the coffee brand, the team had a feeling that she fits best! That is how we have the name and the logo!