The Marketing Mix: Product and Branding Strategies (Starbucks) Starbucks coffee is a globally acclaimed coffee brand. The brand boasts about its quality and charges a high premium based on this product attribute. The famous coffee brand is in its maturity stage…
2009) It is because of its high quality that the brand charges a high premium for its products. There are several other product attributes, other than the price and quality that contribute towards the image of the products offered under the brand name of “Starbucks”. Product Positioning Map Other product attributes of Starbucks coffee include taste, richness, features, design, style, innovation and customer service. These together combine to support the brand image. But for the product positioning map, there are two primary attributes that have been focused upon. The first attribute is the innovation and the second attribute is the customer service. Innovation is necessary for the positioning of the product because customer needs and wants change with time and the only way to meet the changing demand is through innovation. Customer service is also a primary aspect of positioning because it always adds value to the customers’ coffee experience at Starbucks. If innovation is not present, then the brand might fail to serve its target market in the long run. It cannot come up with new products and cannot create demand of its new products which simply means that it will fail to make use of the opportunities available. Customer service on the other hand is a very important attribute that can help retaining the customers and attracting prospective. Consumers always want to go for the products that provide with the customer service. Starbucks incorporates both these primary attributes into its products. Starbucks specializes in gourmet coffee and there are several competitors that have entered the market of specialized coffee. These competitors include McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts. The reason for choosing these competitors is that they do not charge as high a premium as does Starbucks though the product category is same. Starbucks heavily invests in its customer service because it believes that loyal customers are the backbone of its success and it is the most effective way of acquiring more loyal customers. For the attribute of innovation, Starbucks has made its own Research and Development team (R&D). The type and level of investment that Starbucks make in its R&D team is notable. It gives a lead to the brand but this gives a direction to the competitors as well because they can wait to imitate the products. Innovation at Starbucks and also the customer service are high. At McDonald’s customer service is high but innovation of the coffee product is low. Dunkin Donuts is low on both the attributes. It is low on the innovation attribute and also the customer service attribute. Following is the product positioning map of Starbucks with respect to its competitors. Customer Service High Starbucks McDonald’s Innovation Low High Dunkin Donuts Low Starbucks is present in the upper right corner of the product positioning map which means that it is both high in innovation and customer service. Similarly McDonald’s is present in the upper left corner meaning that it is high in customer service but low in the attribute of innovation. And finally the Dunkin Donuts which is present in the lower left corner of the map, meaning that the coffee brand is both low on innovation and customer service. Brand Strategy in relation to the Target Market Starbucks’ target audience mainly comprises of the upscale coffee drinkers. Starbucks has a very well defined target audience. It has a target market in each age segment ...
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