Q&A: Ian Cranna, Starbucks

Ahead of his conference presentation at Marketing Week Live, Ian Cranna, VP marketing and category at Starbucks UK gives his pointers for staying ahead of the game in an increasingly global marketplace.


Q: When you are as international as Starbucks, what opportunities and challenges does that bring?

A: By operating in over 50 markets globally, the biggest opportunity for our marketing strategy is our brand recognition. In each market, it is crucial that we appropriately communicate our Starbucks values – quality coffee, embracing diversity, connecting customers, store environments, and giving back to local communities – in the context of a global business.

Q:     What is the role of social media in that?

A: Social media continues to evolve at a fast pace, and social and digital channels remain our most important communication vehicles for engaging with our customers. Earlier this year, we reached over one million ‘likes’ on our Starbucks UK Facebook page.

Q: How do you keep the brand fresh and relevant?

A: We are driven by a commitment to innovate and to continue to be relevant in each market we operate in, whether that is pioneering coffee shop culture, or introducing the first UK coffee company’s one-touch mobile payment app. It is crucial to remain fresh, innovative and relevant, if a brand doesn’t do this, it won’t attract and retain customer loyalty.

Q: How do you build cultural sensitivity into your brand strategy?

A: We ensure that every Starbucks product and campaign is culturally relevant for consumers in the markets we operate in. For example, in the UK last year we recognised that consumer tastes were becoming more sophisticated, and our customers wanted a stronger tasting coffee, so we added an extra shot to our lattes as standard, at no extra cost. Customers are not only looking for great coffee, they want to enjoy their drink in a welcoming environment that embraces its local surroundings.

Register for free to see Ian Cranna speak at Marketing Week Live here



Will consumerism as we know it become obsolete?

Rosie Baker

Retail, and consumerism itself, is built on the premise that companies design, manufacture and market their products to consumers who buy them, use them, and then buy more. This will be how things are for the foreseeable but it won’t be forever. Alternative models of consumerism will have to evolve to satisfy changing consumer habits as well as economic and environmental pressures. 


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