Deepa Krishnan, CMO, Tata Starbucks on the need for authenticity, and how Gen Z and millennials are influencing marketing strategies

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Deepa Krishnan Starbucks

Deepa Krishnan, CMO, Tata Starbucks on the need for authenticity, and how Gen Z and millennials are influencing marketing strategies

The best way to stand out in the market today is to provide customers with what they want. This is exactly the approach that human-to-human marketing (H2H) offers. It promotes closer relationships, made by the people and for the people.

For brands that relied largely on offline sales, the lockdown measures saw many struggling to adapt. Customer experience was often overlooked as businesses shifted their business strategies online. Keeping customers engaged was one of the many challenges that emerged.

For an experiential brand like Tata Starbucks, one of the challenges has been moving an experience that exists offline—and making it available online.

“Anyone handling digital knows that it cannot be a one-way conversation or merely a digital transaction. One needs to create an experience,” said Deepa Krishnan, Director – Marketing, Category, Loyalty and Digital, Tata Starbucks while speaking at the Economic Times Best Brands 2022 summit.

Krishan shared an example of human-centred approach to marketing, and how it took an offline experience online during the first phase of the Covid lockdown.

In April 2020, Starbucks launched an innovative social media campaign called #ReconnectWithStarbucks to keep its online audience engaged and reaffirm its relationship with customers. The campaign was rolled out in multiple phases, with an aim to strengthen connection with its customers.

“We did this for over 2500 of our customers and they felt like they had an in-store experience. We knew that people will not visit to our stores, but we wanted to keep the brand connect alive,” Krishnan said.

She emphasized that brands must create platforms that are aligned in a manner that is ‘inclusive’ for customers.

“Using such platforms one can make their customers as influencers and hear their voices. This is what a fantastic digital conversation is about,” Krishnan said.

Gen Z, millennials shaping marketing strategy

For Tata Starbucks, Generation Z (Gen Z), and millennials are a large part of their customer base.

Many reports across the globe highlight that Gen Z and millennials are eco-conscious to the point of changing their buying habits to favour environmentally friendly products. They stand out for their high levels of engagement with issues around social factors and climate change. This group is also quick to call out brands on social media if they aren’t doing enough or are acting unethically.

“Gen Z and millennials are putting their money where their mind is,” Krishnan said.

Early this year, Tata Starbucks partnered with noted Indian designer and couturier, Sabyasachi Mukherjee to launch a limited-edition cups and mugs with delicate prints.

As part of the partnership, Tata Starbucks and Sabyasachi also came together to support ‘Educate Girls’—a non-profit organization with a focus on working towards empowering around 3000 girls and young women’s education across rural India.

“We had highest merchandized partnership sale ever through this partnership, and in the same breath, we did our bit for a social cause through Educate Girls. We don’t see any contradictions between doing what’s ‘right’ and doing what’s right for the business,” Krishnan said.

(Image courtesy: Tata.com)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members