Starbucks Coffee Company Rocky Mountain Region (AZ, CO, MT, UT, WY)

Corporate Brand Management PR

Background
Starbucks Coffee Company recognizes the relationship between the success of its company and the strength and vitality of the communities in which it operates. One of Starbucks’ guiding principles is: to contribute positively to its communities and its environment. In 2006, Starbucks Coffee Company was ranked number five on Fortune magazine’s “Most Admired Companies” list, exemplifying Starbucks’ admirable brand. In order to continually enhance that image, Starbucks strives to further its corporate brand equity from an overall perspective in its top markets.

Public Relations Need
Starbucks Coffee Company selected GroundFloor Media as its public relations agency of record for the Rocky Mountain Region in November 2005. GroundFloor Media’s primary objective was to build upon Starbucks’ brand equity—ensuring that it connects and contributes positively to its communities.

With this in mind, GroundFloor Media researched locally relevant events for future Starbucks partnerships that would strengthen its corporate reputation, but decided it would be more effective to create programs that Starbucks could “own” and therefore manage its brand essence more effectively.

Public Relations Strategy
After researching the target market for Starbucks’ upcoming spring Green Tea seasonal beverages, GroundFloor Media created, developed and executed two events in May 2006 to strengthen Starbucks’ corporate reputation in the Denver area – Yoga in the Park and Special Delivery. GroundFloor Media divided the event lead responsibilities among its team members, including handling the partnerships, logistics, customer communications and public relations surrounding each brand-building event.

Yoga in the Park: In order to reach Starbucks’ target audience, GroundFloor Media developed a Yoga in the Park event at which attendees received complimentary yoga instructions and Starbucks Green Tea beverages. GroundFloor Media secured a partnership with CorePower Yoga, a reputable yoga studio with six locations in the Denver metro area. CorePower instructors donated their time to teach the Yoga in the Park Yoga sessions. Additionally, GroundFloor Media solicited donated yoga mats from Gaiam that were imprinted with Starbucks’ and CorePower Yoga’s logos. These mats were sold onsite at the event with proceeds benefiting Denver Urban Gardens, which operates and assists with the creation and management of more than 60 metro-area community gardens and small parks.

On Saturday, May 6, 2006 Starbucks and CorePower Yoga hosted Yoga in the Park to celebrate “re-energizing your life and trying something new and different,” to launch the new Green Tea beverages, and to build upon both organizations’ community outreach efforts.

To support its media relations efforts, GroundFloor Media developed creative media kits and delivered these to broadcast assignment desks, health and wellness reporters and city desks. Additionally, GroundFloor Media and Starbucks coordinated a radio partnership to promote the Green Tea line-up and the Yoga in the Park event.

Special Delivery: In order to reach Starbucks’ target audiences through “surprise & delight” tactics, GroundFloor Media developed the Special Delivery program, through which Starbucks would deliver coffee to nurses, Starbucks gift cards and cupcakes to new moms and Starbucks branded onesies to newborn babies at hospitals in the Denver metro area, as well as in Cheyenne, Wyo., Missoula, Montana and Salt Lake City, Utah. GroundFloor Media helped Starbucks partner with hospitals with excellent reputations for their labor & delivery units and high average numbers of births per month to execute Starbucks’ inaugural Special Delivery program. It was determined that Mother’s Day would be a perfect fit for the program for Starbucks to provide complimentary coffee to the nurses to thank them for working on Mother’s Day, as well as to provide goodies to the moms who delivered and new babies born on Mother’s Day.

GroundFloor Media exercised its creativity in working with individual hospitals to ensure that the program did not violate hospitals’ “no solicitation” policies. Each hospital had to be handled differently in order for the program to be compliant with patient privacy rules. In addition to connecting with potential customers, the program provided media relations opportunities through photo opportunities for local media.

Results
Both events, Yoga in the Park and Special Delivery, allowed Starbucks to create a unique Starbucks experience for hundreds of local consumers, strengthening its brand equity by connecting it with its community. With good weather on hand after a week of rain, GroundFloor Media was pleased to have more than 250 people attend Yoga in the Park, and through the sale of donated yoga mats, more than $850 was raised and donated to Denver Urban Gardens. For the Special Delivery program, nearly 350 Starbucks gift cards and cupcake packages were delivered to new moms at eight hospitals in the Rocky Mountain region.

Highlights
GroundFloor Media garnered six editorials surrounding the Yoga in the Park event, including:

  • In-studio interviews on KMGH (ABC) and KDVR (Fox).
  • Event listing and post-event feature with photo in YourHub print and
    online editions (Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News – Denver
    community section).
  • Article and photo in Westword.
  • Editorial mentions on The Mix 100 (100.3 FM) morning show with Dom and Jane. Additionally, the promotional support from Mix 100 for the event surpassed a total of $11,000 in media value.

From the Special Delivery program, GroundFloor Media garnered broadcast and print coverage, including:

  • On-air mentions on KUSA (NBC) and KWGN (WB2).

Front-page photo and caption in YourHub print edition (Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News – Centennial, Cherry Hills Village, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Littleton, Sheridan community section).