The winter holiday season has arrived. Hanukkah is just around the corner, followed by Christmas and New Year's. You can’t turn a corner without experiencing the holiday season [often involuntarily].
One brand in particular has truly captured the attention of consumers — Starbucks.
Starbucks is one retailer that continually grabs hold of our holiday devotion and isn’t letting go. Walk into any Starbucks storefront or kiosk and the holiday season is alive and well. Between the warm coffee scents, Christmas decorations, and upbeat jazzy tunes, it’s difficult to scoff at their over-enthusiastic holiday presence.
My generation grew up with a hand glued to a Starbucks latte. Is it any wonder that the traditional glass of eggnog from our childhood has quickly been replaced by a Peppermint Mocha (which I happened to drink this morning)?
When autumn rolls around, children jump at the chance to carve pumpkins and sip hot apple cider. As adults we jump at the chance to order Starbucks’ seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte. Thanksgiving comes and goes and soon we look forward to the updated winter menu of our favorite Christmas treats — Peppermint Mochas, Eggnog Lattes, and Gingerbread Lattes.
Holiday cards from vendors and coworkers are stuffed with Starbucks gift cards. Ugly sweater holiday parties and white elephant gift exchanges are notorious for Starbucks gift sets filled with teas, coffee samplings, and chocolate treats.
From a brand strategist perspective, I applaud Starbucks. They have created a line of signature holiday drinks and products that have become synonymous with the words, “Christmas,” “winter,” and “Thanksgiving.” While the accessibility of Starbucks products is a bit overboard, I admire their ability to tap into our emotional sentiment to sell what is really just a cup of joe.
Starbucks has succeeded by selling the experience of a cozy holiday season, which is much more than a cup of steamed milk and espresso. Their ability to capitalize on our holiday sentiment has generated a brand following that grows stronger with the magic of each Christmas season.