A memorable Valentine's Day experience for Starbucks customers

OVERVIEW

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MY ROLE

The following concept was originally presented in the fall of 2019. One year later, I revisited the project with a teammate (Tika Appaiah) in hopes of improving the visual design and overall brand identity. During the reiteration, I focused primarily on strengthening the strategic setup, business opportunity, and user experience.

SKILLS

Research, Activation Strategy, UX,

Digital and Physical Prototyping

TOOLS

Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop, Laser Engraver

A DAY MEANT FOR CELEBRATING OTHERS

 
THE CHALLENGE

"Create a brand experience for Valentine’s Day

that allows people to share their love for each other"

From the start, this seemed like an extremely open-ended ask. Therefore, it was important to begin by thinking about what makes Valentine's Day a unique holiday.

HOLIDAY TRUTH

Valentine’s Day is a selfless holiday. In addition to planning extravagant dinners, people are constantly looking for subtle ways to express their feelings towards others throughout the day.

 
THE INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITY

Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, many of which are being purchased at coffee shops. 

Americans are addicted to coffee. While many Americans do brew their own coffee at home, there are currently over 24,000 coffee shops in the United States, and this number continues to grow. 

Every day, millions of consumers opt out of the easy make-at-home Keurig Cup, and opt in to spending a few dollars at their local coffee shops. These consumers know that this recurring expense will add up financially, yet there is something about the taste, convenience, and environment that keeps them coming back for more.

STARBUCKS: THE INDUSTRY LEADER

Starbucks is by far the most dominant player in the coffee shop industry. The global chain revolutionized how we as consumers view coffee shops in our lives.

Starbucks serves millions of people every day. In addition to having the financial resources necessary to pull off the following experience, the business has an unmatched brand loyalty. 

 
THE SOLUTION

Starbucks sets up in-store kiosks that allow customers to create personalized coffee sleeves for Valentine’s Day.

For Valentine’s Day, Starbucks will place unique sleeve personalization kiosks in select stores throughout the country. The kiosks will show up unannounced, and they will be placed near the drink pick-up area of the stores. The sleeve customization is an opt-in experience for customers that wish to do something special for the extraordinary people in their lives. 

AN UNEXPECTED IN-STORE EXPERIENCE

Once customers arrive, they will learn about the "Say it with Love" activation through in-store signage. Customers can then head to the kiosks to create personalized sleeves for the extraordinary people in their lives. Depending on costs, there will likely be multiple kiosks in the selected stores. 

THE KIOSKS

In hopes of avoiding long lines, the kiosk and digital form were designed with efficiency as a priority.  

 
THE IMPACT

Starbucks creates a memorable experience for a select few, and sends a powerful message to millions around the world.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT

Say it with Love will be a unique experience for those lucky enough to be near a store hosting the kiosks. Customers will remember the unique holiday activation, and the sleeves will spark joy in communities. 

It would be nice to have the kiosks show up in every Starbucks around the world, but doing so would be too costly. Instead, by targeting select markets and encouraging social sharing, Starbucks can reach millions with a relatively small investment

Potential ways of measuring success:

  • Total sales of "experience stores" vs. costs of kiosks

  • Number of sleeves printed vs. average number of daily drinks sold per "experience store"

  • Social media engagement and impressions

  • Press coverage and other online conversations

LONG-TERM ASPIRATIONS AND IMPACT

What if Starbucks could own "the cup of coffee you buy for others"? Every day, some customers will buy a second cup of coffee to give to someone else. 

There are countless scenarios in which customers would buy coffee for someone else (buying for significant others, family members, friends, coworkers, etc). Regardless of whether or not these people are being reimbursed for their purchases, the act of buying coffee for someone else is still one of generosity, and it should be celebrated.

Starbucks has a unique opportunity to meet these buyers in their time of need. Through Say it with Love and similar experiences, Starbucks could gradually position itself as the "place you go to buy for others."

 
DESIGN PROCESS

USER PERSONAS & JOURNEY MAPPING

Depending on whether someone is an intentional buyer or a spontaneous buyer, they will likely be in different emotional states when encountering this experience.

KIOSK FORM ANNOTATIONS

It was important for us to keep the digital form simple and intuitive to maximize efficiency. We used a combination of presets and custom inputs so that each user can create a unique personalized sleeve. 

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ROUND 1 PROTOTYPING

For my initial presentation in 2019, I used a laser engraver to bring the coffee sleeves to life. As mentioned above, the sleeves have since been revised, and we plan on printing the updated designs in the coming months.

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THE TEAM

Tika Appaiah, Experience Design

Doug West, Experience Design

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(804) 484-4093

Lyle Journey