Starbucks on Branded Packaging

Sunday, January 07, 2018

How does a $93 billion coffee company approach their packaging choices? We interviewed the experts at Starbucks to find out. Here are the top five ways your business can benefit from their marketing and packaging strategies:

starbucks cup

1.    Starbucks believes that every touch point is a branding opportunity – from a single latte to the catering box you send to offices.  Their first point of advice: make the most of these opportunities!

2.    The iconic coffee company made the decision to use single wall cups and sleeves (rather than insulated double wall cups) for reasons that surprised us.  Starbucks customers ‘finish’ hot drinks themselves (add their own cream, honey, lids), which means they have the option to add a sleeve or not. Many choose not to, which means lower packaging costs.  In fact, Starbucks found that there is a perception that double wall cups are less recyclable (although this isn’t the case!). The fact that sleeves are recyclable is well known, but many folks don’t know that both single or double wall cups can also be recycled.  The lesson here: make sure your cup design clearly states whether your municipality recycles coffee cups!  (All the hot cups that Georgette makes are fully recyclable, given the right municipal facilities).

3.    Starbucks believes in sourcing locally, and they put their money behind this.  Impressively, all Starbucks cups and lids used in Canada and the US are manufactured in the United States.  (Georgette offers North American-made cups at minimum quantities of 100,000).

4.    The principal benefit that Starbucks derives from their holiday cup is that it’s terrific PR and marketing. People love seeing what the new holiday design is, eagerly anticipating it each year.  Tip: make your packaging launch or limited edition items an event!  Your customers will be super excited to have a new excuse to market for you!

5.    One final suggestion beyond the in-store cup experience: if you’re shipping products directly to your customer’s home, make this a special experience that’s distinctly different from being at your café or shop.  Major retailers like Starbucks know that it’s important to make the at-home experience enjoyable and memorable in it’s own way, so customers look forward to ordering again!

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