Starbucks is making unicorn (and sugar) lovers’ dreams come true.
The coffee chain recently announced a limited time drink called the
CBS News reported:
The unicorn Frappuccino, which will be available from April 19-23, is the
company’s first new Frappuccino flavor this year, and was inspired by
unicorn-themed food and drinks popular on social media, the company said.
The new drink comes at a sensitive time for Starbucks, with
a new chief executive at the helm
and a sales slowdown in 2016 that came amidst an unpopular change in its
loyal program. The coffee giant is also dealing with competition from
smaller stores that appeal to younger consumers.
contributor Micheline Maynard
likened it to “an edible Mylar balloon” and wrote:
My conclusion after managing to finish about a third of a tall-sized
Unicorn is that it tastes like a naughty child's birthday party. There's
sweet, there's sour and you end up with pink glitter all over your hands.
You don’t have to coat your next campaign in glitter to make it a success,
however. Here are three lessons you can take from Starbucks’ recent win:
1. Make it urgent.
If you want to make a product or service sought-after, make it exclusive—or
available only for a limited time.
CBS News reported:
“As a heritage brand, that is competing with smaller, artisanal, and more
specialized beverage experiences, Starbucks is making a play at attracting
generation Z and creating something that they will want to share,” said
Emily Kahn, a consultant at branding company Vivaldi. “The short time frame
creates urgency and generates buzz, making it a great opportunity to profit
off of marketing.”
Appealing to consumers’ sense of urgency—along with their fear of missing
out—can create the perfect viral storm.
2. Remember your employees.
Though not everyone is thrilled about the Unicorn Frappuccino, the coffee
chain’s staff seems to loathe it.
Colorado-based employee Braden Burson took to Twitter on Wednesday, April
19, to vent his frustrations, saying that not only is the drink a pain to
make, the ingredients have been staining his hands. "I have never made so
many Frappuccinos," he explains. "My hands are completely sticky, I have
unicorn crap all in my hair and in my nose, and I have never been so
stressed out in my entire life."
In the video—which Burson later deleted—he begged consumers to not order
Burson is far from the only barista that hates Starbucks current marketing
One Starbucks barista, who requested their name be withheld, told us it's
"literally so many steps and ingredients" and that once it was announced,
"everyone was like 'I'm putting in my two weeks.'"
Luckily for those wearing the iconic green aprons, the drink is only
available for a few more days, but it’s a good reminder to PR and marketing
pros—along with corporate communicators—to not forget employees in their
Employees are often organizations’ biggest source of storytelling and can
greatly affect your reputation. Don’t bypass their desires when catering to
your customers, or you can create a toxic company culture that does your
brand no favors.
3. Encourage over-the-top reactions.
Here’s a sample of some of the love the sugar-laden drink has received on
Starbucks’ social media team is retweeting and interacting with love-struck
customers, further validating their reactions.
[RELATED: Attend the Big 5 Social Media Boot Camp and learn to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram to get huge results.]
Why encourage consumers to freak out (in a positive way)? The bigger the
reaction, the more likely a consumer will want to share it with their
friends, family and (potentially thousands of) online followers.
You might be annoyed when you encounter an experience such as this:
However, to digital marketers, it’s gold. That type of genuine excitement
over a product isn’t something you can pay even the most popular social
media heavyweight to produce.
Instead of setting your sights on expensive “influencer” ads, consider
creating a contest, limited-time offering or engaging company experience
(whether it’s online or in person) that will drive consumers to take
part—and then tell everyone about how awesome it was.
Make sure you celebrate with excited fans (unicorn “dust” optional).