From Everyday to Aspirational: What Starbucks Means in China

(Photo: flickr/Brad & Ying)

(Photo: flickr/Brad & Ying)

While there’s plenty of lingering at Starbucks in the states, especially when college kids and freelancers are involved, many of the storefront are set up for speed: People just want to pop in and pop out as quickly as possible for a caffeine fix. But according to Ad Age, Starbucks have become popular destinations for extended hang sessions in China, where chilling at ‘bucks has become a way to announce your socio-economic clout.

The cultural cachet of sipping a latté at Starbucks has so far been limited to the middle class and up. As China market strategist Paul French found, “Now Starbucks is the place where you go if you have cash and want to flash it. The new middle class can sit there and look out the window and drink their Frappuccino and say, ‘We’ve made it.’”

The challenge of manufacturing this social relevance for the chain falls to Chinese-American Marie Han Silloway, Starbucks China’s Chief Marketing Officer. To pull it off, she employs such strategies as having baristas trained to teach customers about the coffee they serve, and holding regular coffee seminars at different stores.

By 2015, if all goes according to plan, the company will have more than doubled the number of stores across China, from 600 to 1,500.

[via Ad Age]

  • Christopher J Schaaff

    Who gives a shit

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