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Tata Starbucks to spend aggressively on digital and outdoor; will launch more outlets soon

In an interaction with, Deepa Krishnan, Director, Marketing, Category, Loyalty, Digital at Tata Starbucks, talks about leveraging digital media and the company’s future plans

Tata Starbucks will spend aggressively on outdoor and digital as it plans to open stores across the country.

“A large percentage of our consumers are millennials and most millennials are actually consuming digital content like never before. Having said that, there is a place for every kind of medium; for example, whenever we launch in a new city, we completely focus on outdoor and social media. However, currently, we continue to leverage digital a lot because that’s where our consumers are,” said Deepa Krishnan, Director, Marketing, Category, Loyalty, Digital at Tata Starbucks. 

“This year we launched more new stores compared to what we launched in the year 2019-20. We’ve been expanding very thoughtfully and been aggressive in our expansion strategies. This is only going to continue. We are looking forward to opening in many newer cities in 2021 with many more stores coming up. We are hoping 2021 is better and the vaccine gets rolled out quickly and everyone is safe to get a sense of normalcy,” she added. 

Krishnan said despite the pandemic, they managed to launch in six new cities and carried many out-reach programmes during the lockdown, such as launching Starbucks food trucks. “We are making sure that as we move along, we continue to focus on safety, innovation, up our digital game and make sure we can provide customers with a great experience anytime they choose to visit Starbucks.” 

She said the marketing trajectory for Starbucks focuses on putting out positive messages for consumers. “You will see that we do a lot of communication on our social media pages, talking to customers about safety, because that's really important today.” 

In 2021, Krishnan said, they are looking to introduce interesting coffee drinks along and educating consumers about coffee. “The other pillar as far as a marketing campaign is concerned is going to be in the area of partnerships as well. We collaborated with Tata Sampann and Sanjeev Kapoor and launched a whole new menu of clean vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes at our stores and that has been doing phenomenally well.” 

The company is focusing on using technology and innovation to leverage experiences and opened a drive-through store in Chandigarh last year. They launched their app that enables consumers to order a beverage and collect it within 10 minutes to have it on the go. During the lockdown period, Starbucks launched one-litre beverages under the initiative of ‘Star-bucks at home’ as people could not go out, and they could enjoy one-litre beverages at home," said Krishnan. 

On the back of Women’s Day, the brand launched a campaign called ‘Cheers to you’, based on the insight that women today are far more open and comfortable in being themselves and not really waiting for external validation and not wanting to be perfect. “It’s just about cheering themselves, irrespective of how they are feeling professionally or personally, cherishing and celebrating themselves,” she said. 

“We had a couple of legs of this campaign where we sent out messages to all our customers on social media. If you ever visited a Starbucks, you would know that one of the iconic rituals of Starbucks is to write down your name and then call out your name. We have replicated this ritual online. We actually had voice notes going out into the DMs of our customers, cheering them on,” she said.

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