While it may be too early for you to whip out the Christmas lights and yule logs, Starbucks is getting the holiday season started this week with the premiere of their annual holiday cup collection, and signature seasonal beverages. The start of their holiday campaign marks the beginning of a year long effort for the companies biggest annual marketing strategy. The holidays are always a lucrative opportunity for any business, and Starbucks is no different.
The company begins planning their holiday campaign a year in advance; this includes making and finalizing cup designs, deciding what classic holiday beverages will be returning to the menu and what new additions will make the cut. The collection also normally includes a bunch of Starbucks memorabilia including tumblers, portable coffee cups, mugs, etc. This year, Starbucks has four main cup designs, which include Polka Dots, a “Merry Coffee” dancing design, a “Merry Coffee” striped design, and a candy cane themed cup. This years holiday beverages include the classic peppermint mocha, which has been returning every holiday season for 17 years, a toasted white chocolate mocha, caramel brulee latte, chestnut praline latte and the eggnog latte.
“It starts very early. We’re already looking at next year now and our creative team, that’s combined with our customer insights team, talks through holiday season, at the close of the season and, actually, while we’re going through the season and it begins to develop what the customer wants to see,” Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer told FOX Business.
As stated, the process begins a year in advance, and typically during the campaigns as they’re happening. This way Starbucks executives can closely monitor what products and menu items are popular and working and which aren’t, in live time. Additionally the company analyzes consumer feedback throughout the entire year and uses focus groups to run through extensive product testing and record genuine reviews of new potential holiday menu items.
Other cosmetic changes will include the in store menu’s going from green to red, as well as red aprons for the barista’s. One of their biggest concerns was for distribution of their reusable holiday Red cups that work with the Red foundation. Last year the demand for the cups was so high that they sold out within the first week of promotion. Most likely because part of Starbucks’ annual holiday campaign states that anyone who purchases a red cup can return it to Starbucks locations from Nov. 7 to Jan. 7 to get a 50-cent discount off holiday beverages/refills.
“It will be quite festive inside the building, and what’s really neat about it is we’ve done so much work this year on in-store execution. We feel really good about having enough available red cups this year in terms of the inventory of the cups and the way our baristas, are able to customize and create these wonderful beverages for our customer base,” said Brewer.
From the business side, Starbucks allot’s separate training for all its baristas during holiday promotions so they become experts in preparing complicated specialty drink recipe’s in a quick and efficient matter. They enforce the same type of training ever autumn for the pumpkin spice latte rush. This training is mainly to prepare in store staff for the points in the day where there’s a rush of foot traffic and multiple customers ordering the same complex holiday beverages. The massive preparation is also to keep up with holiday coffee competitors such as Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds, both of which always announce their holiday menus a day or two before Starbucks in order to seem ahead of the curve. However, with Starbucks now fully branding themselves with their annual holiday promotions, it’ll be hard for competitors to keep up with the red cups that take over every holiday season.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.