SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2014: Starbucks and The Coffee Shop Experience

Briar Waterman, Starbucks Creative Director, Global Digital Marketing

Briar Waterman, Starbucks Creative Director, Global Digital Marketing

Briar Waterman is Starbucks Creative Director, Global Digital Marketing, and he had some exciting news on how Starbucks is engaging its brand with consumers at the first day of the annual Seattle Interactive Conference, October 15-16. This is the first year that Starbucks takes its brand on a global campaign. At one point, Waterman displayed a recent collage of Starbucks locations from a promotion on Instagram. What he pointed out was that, even though the display featured some great locations, what it lacked was a key ingredient. It really needed to bring out the fact that people enjoy hanging out at Starbucks.


As a Seattle native, I am an equal opportunity coffee shop customer. I love them all and keep visiting as many as I can, including our Seattle favorite son, Starbucks. Now, I suppose I’m not a super fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate Starbucks. Given that this was basically a casual industry gathering, Waterman jumped right in talking about PSL. Do you know what PSL is right away? I doubt it. But that’s okay. Get into the groove and it will hit you: Pumpkin Spice Latte! That you know. What Waterman was exploring with his audience were matters dealing with what consumers, or fans, know and love. Waterman was most concerned with tapping into authentic consumer behavior.


When you can tap into genuine Starbucks fan activity, then you don’t need a script. You follow the enthusiasm. One such example that was discovered was the phenomenon of customers taking selfies just after purchasing Frappuccinos. The experience called for instant documentation and Starbucks was happy to promote that. Another activity, this one originating with Starbucks, was a coffee cup design contest and that too demonstrated the love and loyalty of fans.

Ultimately, Starbucks determined that the key concept goes back to the original mission statement regarding serving the community. The language to this new campaign is direct: “Human connection is a force for good.” It’s a down to basics approach that rings true. Waterman shared parts of the new global campaign which presents Starbucks as a place to engage: Meet Me At Starbucks. The campaign includes a look at Starbucks across the globe, spanning 28 countries, and filmed all in one day.

Visit the Meet Me at Starbucks campaign right here.

So, if you weren’t hip to PSL, now you are and you will want to check out the Real PSL right here.

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Filed under Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, SIC 2014, Starbucks

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