Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
May 20, 2013

CASE STUDY: How Starbucks used the Chinese almanac to draw sales

Starbucks has protected its market share by using the characteristics of the Chinese almanac in a complementary way, demonstrating how it is applying business to local culture.

CASE STUDY: How Starbucks used the Chinese almanac to draw sales

Background

Starbucks, as a foreign brand, wanted to foster a deeper connection with consumers in China around the Chinese New Year holiday. Traditionally, Chinese calendars guide the lives of the Chinese by predicting auspicious dates for weddings, travel, house-moving and other events. For example, 27 January this year was deemed a good day to go on a blind date, while 11 February was considered a good day to visit relatives.

Execution

Starbucks, through JWT, created its own 30-day calendar tailored to the journeys and daily experiences of a typical Chinese citizen during February. The content was seeded on social media, as the client rarely uses paid media. The calendar dates were linked to physical store offers.

On 3 February, for example, consumers were asked to give their parents bear hugs at stores in order to get a three-for-two deal. On 7 February, consumers were asked to display their New Year shopping at stores to get a free beverage upgrade. Other examples included limited-edition reward cards for consumers who posted pictures of themselves toasting friends on social media.

Results

With almost-zero media investment, the 'daily goodness' campaign generated more than 100 million impressions on Sina Weibo. Sales from the festive promotion performed 10 times better than during regular-period promotions, according to the company.

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