Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility
How do you believe the company conducts business in a socially responsible way? Support your answer by discussing specific examples.
Starbucks currently owns and operates more than 28,000 stores in more than 75 countries. Their commitment to creating a positive global social impact is enforced in their mission statement. They focus on three key elements:
- Leading in sustainability
- Creating meaningful opportunities
- Strengthening communities
According to Starbucks (2021), they are committed to offering “high-quality, ethically purchased and responsibly produced products, investing in paths to opportunity through education, training and employment, minimizing environmental footprint and inspiring others to do the same, and offering Starbucks as a place for public conversation and elevating civic engagement through service.” They strive to inspire the world to create positive change. To be innovators, leaders and contributors to an inclusive society and a healthy environment so that everyone can thrive.
Specific examples that include how Starbucks contributes to CSR includes:
Halve its carbon emissions, waste output and water impact by 2030
Starbucks is aiming to reduce their carbon emissions by 2030 by 50%. They also want to reduce their waste to landfills and manufacturing, which will also help conserve 50% of the water currently being used for coffee and other operations. This will also help protect the sustainability of the company and the supply chain. Achieving this will help farmers be more productive and contribute to the planets longevity. They have publicly mentioned this, but are accelerating this program as of 2021. More information about this program can be found here.
Creating straw-less lids
Part of reducing Starbucks carbon footprint, they created straw-less lids. In September of 2020, Starbucks officially ditched plastic straws. All of Starbucks iced drinks are now served with a straw-less lid.
Has the company ever been involved in any incidents in which they were accused of not conducting business in an ethical or socially responsible manner? If so, briefly discuss the legal issues related to the incident(s).
Starbucks has in the past accused of poor conducting of business. This came to light after an incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia, where two African American men were wrongfully removed from the premise for waiting for a business associate. Starbuck’s CEO Kevin Johnson had answered to the press by saying the incident was the company’s fault for poor training practices. The next month, Starbucks shut down 8,000 stores to conduct an anti-bias training for a day. They realized they have hundreds of thousands of employees, and needed more concrete and extensive training if they want to maintain their integrity. Starbucks began setting company diversity goals, one being increasing the number of diverse employees in the company. You can read the letter from the CEO, Kevin Johnson, regarding racial and social equity at Starbucks here.
Do you feel the company is “green” for profit or “green” for the environment?
I believe Starbucks is “green” for the environment. Especially being that they are one of the worlds largest buyers of coffee and owners of coffee farms. According to Starbuck’s website, they want to make coffee “the world’s first sustainable product to improve the lives of at least 1 million people in coffee communities around the world” (Starbucks, 2021). Starbucks shares their research and resources with the Farmer Support Centers, who produce coffee in countries all around the world. Through their Global Farmer Fund program, they are investing millions into allowing farmers to renovate their farms for sustainable practices. According to Starbucks (2021), they have invested over 100 million in supporting the coffee communities. Through collaborative farming programs, Starbucks is shaping global coffee farming practices, creating support centers, issuing farmer loans, and working on carbon footprint projects. While Starbucks is a publicly traded company and should care for the profits, I think they realize that they are a company that’s not going out of business anytime soon. Rather, what I mean by this is that the real interest for the shareholders is in the sustatinibitly of the company. Starbucks is investing in their future, rather immediate growth.
Hendricks, D. (2021). How to Take Your Company Global in 7 Steps | Startup Grind. Startup Grind. https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/how-to-take-your-company-global-in-7-steps/
Starbucks. (2021). Responsibly Grown and Fair Trade Coffee. Starbucks Coffee Company. https://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing/coffee
What is the brand strategy being used by the top dog? What is the brand strategy being used by the underdog?
Marvel and D.C. Comics are the two leading comic book companies. The top dog, Marvel, was purchased by Disney for $4 billion according to Katz (2020). The underdog, D.C. Comics, is owned by Time Warner. Both companies have similar and interesting endeavors, but approach their goals differently. According to the article Marvel vs. DC: A Case Study, “The largest difference, and possibly the deciding factor over the last 15 years, seems to be Marvel’s dedication to continuity across its stories, characters, and universes vs. DC’s constant shifts towards rebrands and staying on the cutting edge of what audiences want” (Day One Agency, 2018). If we look into Marvel’s strategy, they do a great job connecting the story line of their characters to one story. If we look at the 7 of the top grossing Marvel movies, the Avengers and Spiderman make up the majority of the movies:
This is a great brand strategy by Marvel. Fans want to see a linear story line between the different movies; this is exactly what Marvel delivers.
On the other hand, DC’s approach in the TV world has been to try as many different approaches as possible and to run with the series that stick and show potential. If we look at the history of run-time between Marvel and D.C. Comic shows, we can see that fans have long enjoyed D.C.’s comics much better:
The brand strategy behind D.C. Comics has been to create characters who are diverse and adaptive. D.C.’s focus has been television rather films/movies. This has allowed D.C. Comic’s to thrive while Marvel, the top-dog, has been dominating in the film category.
How can the underdog improve its strategy so that it can gain more market share and surpass the top dog? Provide three recommendations.
Marvel has done a great job creating a linear story line between their movies and characters. They have created a universe where fans watching the movies are absorbed into another world. For example, the Iron Man series has been integrated in the Marvel universe for over 14 year since the movies release in 2008. Iron Man has had 3 single movies and has appeared in over 9 movies since his first film (Armitage, 2018).
- D.C. Comics should do a better job creating a linear story between their characters and films. The different movies and series should tie into each other. They should create a D.C. Universe that is consistent.
- They should be consistent with their actors for playing character roles. Robert Downey Jr. has been Iron Man throughout the entirety of the character’s life. The same could be said for almost all the Marvel characters in the recent movies. Unlike Marvel, D.C. switches between different actors all the time. For example, there have been over 7 Joker actors in the past years.
- They should expand beyond their most popular characters and bring back other characters in comics. If D.C. wants to continue reinventing the wheel and constantly adapting, they should bring new characters into their series rather change their current ones.
Why do you believe consumers prefer the top dog over the underdog? Which do you prefer, and why?
I think most people prefer Marvel over D.C. Comics because of their consistency and story line. Marvel has undoubtedly set themselves up for a phenomenal story. Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers series end, has become the 2nd highest grossing movie of all time; the movie grossed $2,797,501,328 (IMDB, 2021). The Avengers series has 4 spots on the list of Top 11 grossing films.
I prefer Marvel for the same reason. I’ve been hooked into the universe marvel created since the first Iron Man movie and Avengers. Then it followed with Captain America, then Thor, then Hulk, and so on… Marvel has kept me on the edge for years with their story line and how it all connects at the end. It’s amazing to see all the movies come together and it’s why I’ve become such a fan of the company.
Armitage, H. (2018, October 22). How to watch Iron Man’s complete Marvel Cinematic Universe journey. Digital Spy. https://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a868988/iron-man-movies-order-timeline-chronological/
Day One Agency. (2018, June 13). Marvel vs. DC: A Case Study – Day One Perspective. Medium. https://dayoneperspective.com/marvel-vs-dc-c90d56b982f8
IMDB. (2021, April 21). Top Lifetime Grosses. Box Office Mojo. https://www.boxofficemojo.com/chart/top_lifetime_gross/?area=XWW
Katz, B. (2020, September 22). The Walt Disney Company’s Major Recent Acquisitions, Ranked By Cost. Observer. https://observer.com/2020/09/disney-buys-star-wars-marvel-fox-hulu-pixar-cost-box-office/
Under Armour was created in 1996. The company created a technology to manufacture breathable material to replace cotton materials found in sports gear. By 2013, the company began to manufacture shorts, shoes, hats, and other athletic gear with their technology. With much success, the company analyzed that out of their $2.3 billion in sales that only $500 million was from women’s apparel.
In the case study article, what market segments were identified and what segmentation strategies were implemented?
The “I Will What I Want” Campaign launched in 2013 and was “largest global women’s marketing campaign Under Armour had ever run” (University of Virginia, 2016). The main segment primarily focused on the empowerment of women through American Ballet Theatre ballerina soloist Misty Copeland and her story. The segmented strategy used here was gender demographic and decision makers. The target audience is female and UA has identify which age group are going to make purchasing decisions based their campaign strategy. This information will allow the company to better allocate their marketing budget to efficiently converting customers.
What do you believe are four to five key points to remember when implementing segmentation strategies?
When implementing segmentation strategies, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Know your target audience. When Under Armour created their “I Will What I Want” Campaign, they most likely did research to analyze their target audience. Using the information they gained from their research, they created a campaign with a figure and story that matches their new products’ image.
- Test your product with your audience. Most likely Under Armour conducted surveys with women to see if they like their product before they created an ad campaign. You need to let your subject group test your product to learn more about your target audience. Through their use of the product, you can find what key features stand out to your group.
- Take advantage of social media and influencers. Depending on the segmentation strategy, you can easily target a demographic of people directly through influences. When consumers recognize your brand and associate it with their idol, they are more likely to purchase your product. There exists a unique connection between consumers and influences.
- Segment your audience into organized, managed groups. This is a key point because it allows a business to “predict where your products and services are most wanted, allowing for better customer experiences, loyalty, and niche marketing” (CMG Consulting, 2020).
Identify a new market segment that you have noticed recently (during your own shopping experience online, in a commercial ad, or in a secondary resource such as a magazine) that you believe would be a great market to explore. How might you create a segmentation strategy to reach this new market segment?
Drop shipping has recently been a new trend I’ve noticed in the market. These business owners find products on Alibaba and conduct in-depth SEO analysis through Alexa for key words online to create a segmentation strategy to reach a new market. Once they’ve found their niche product, they’ll create ads around their product for their demographic. These ads are played all over social media and through Google Ads. I’ve watched many videos on how to create a segmentation strategy for Drop Shipping on YouTube. I think this is a market segment I would like to explore in the future.
CMG Consulting. (2020). Market Segmentation Strategy | CMG Consulting. Cmgconsulting.Com. https://www.cmgconsulting.com/post/market-segmentation-strategy
University of Virginia. (July 27, 2016). Under Armour’s willful digital moves. Harvard Business Review; Darden Business Publishing. https://services.hbsp.harvard.edu/lti/links/content-launch
What type of consumer are you?
I would consider myself to be an educated or individual consumer. When I purchase products, I tend to purchase what I want and do thorough research to ensure that the product I am purchasing is the best on the market. I’m not specifically loyal to brands, so I’m not a loyal consumer; I purchase products that give me the best bang for my buck respective to my research. I have a Google Pixel 4XL, for example. I don’t purchase products like the Apple iPhone because I’m a loyal customer. I’ve had iPhone in the past, but through research I’ve concluded that it’s no longer a superior product to other smartphones on the market for my needs.
What influences your buying decisions, and how?
The type of consumer I am can directly relate to the influences I have on my buying decisions. Since I’m an individual and educated consumer, I typically don’t fall for gimmicks or make impulse buying decisions. For example, the other day I was on the market for a massage machine. As I’m searching for “massage machine” on Google, I start to get flooded with Ads for massage machines. Some of the companies have great marketing and price, but after doing research you realize the quality of the product is non-existent.
When doing research to purchase a product, sites like cnet.com are great resources for comparing products. YouTube has also become a platform for reliable reviews on products. There are communities dedicated to providing consumers insight on what it’s like owning a product and comparing it to other options on the market.
Which stage actually leads to your purchasing decisions?
The stage that leads to my purchasing decisions is the search for information. As I previously stated, once I do my research I will purchase the best product. If I find that Sony makes the best massage machine for the price, I will go with Sony. Searching for information on the internet is the stage where I will make a purchasing decisions. Sometimes the marketing of a product can make it seem better than another, but I’ve learned to look past this.
When making a buying decision, how are you influenced by marketing research and marketing design?
I won’t lie that sometimes companies market their product so well, it becomes tempting to purchase the product. Many times, marketing will influence my decision to purchase a product that is more expensive. For example, I was recently on the market for a new monitor for my computer. I wanted one that was affordable (good ones range from $600+), had a high refresh rate, and used a panel with good contrast and colors. I found a great monitor for $250 through my research, though I found another for $400 that was very impressive. The marketing behind the monitor made it especially tempting to spend an extra $150+ to purchase. It not only had everything I was looking for, but the website marketed the monitor so well. It showed all its features on a nice immersive layout and had a few other features that made it look beautiful. I was greatly influenced by the company’s website to spend an extra $150 and purchase their monitor.
In an article by Mendenhall, they conducted a study that found “the design of a company’s website can increase the desire to impulse buy … swift navigation and user-friendly websites encouraged more impulse purchases than websites that were more complicated to use.” Create a marketing funnel with eye-catching ads makes it easier to purchase items online than ever before. People can make a quick impulse buy in a few clicks.
Do you experience any post-purchase behavior?
Every so often I will experience post-purchase behaviors. I recently purchased another line on my T-Mobile plan for business. They had a promotion going on where if you opened a new line, you get a new iPhone for $250. I opened a new line ($20 /month) and got a new phone. I wanted to separate my business line from personal. After I opened the line and got the new phone, I felt post-purchase behavior. This was my first time making an impulse buy in a long time. I honestly don’t need another separate phone for work, and now I carry two along with me wherever I go. It’s not the end of the world, but this was definitely an event where I felt I overdid myself.
Mendenhall, C. (2021). The Phenomenon of Impulse Buying //. Artifacts Journal // University of Missouri. https://artifactsjournal.missouri.edu/2015/01/the-phenomenon-of-impulse-buying/