Starbucks began as a coffee importing and roasting company in 1971. Since 1987, the company has expanded at an astonishing rate. America was ready for the third place provided by Starbucks. In 1987, Starbucks opened its first store outside of the State of Washington.
Over the next eight years, the company spread throughout North America before opening its first overseas location in Japan. The company continues to open new stores at an impressive rate. 1,500 new stores have been planned for 2006.
Starbucks has also grown through licensing relationships and by offering bottled drinks and bags of coffee for sale in grocery stores. (Corporate Website)
It has zoomed up as one of the best companies globally. It shall also examine some of the visual representations of the place so that an overall impression is generated. It shall delve into the purpose of the kinds of representations it chooses to represent the group and analyze how this culturally represents the community where it is situated.
Visual images are natural means to enhance learning. Things become clear as vision plays a vital role in communication, since more than 60 percent of communication consists of nonverbal, visual cues. This paper will tackle Starbucks and look into the site’s “sense of place” and the effect this ambience has on the people who visit the place.
Starbucks purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them along with fresh, rich-brewed, Italian-style espresso beverages, a variety of pastries and confections, and coffee-related accessories and equipment, through its company operated retail stores. In addition to sales through its company-operated retail stores, it sells primarily whole bean coffees through a specialty sales group, a direct response business, supermarkets, and online at Starbucks.com.
At Starbucks, there are certain objects which act as symbols or representations that have come to be generally accepted as standing for or representing something more than what it is there for (Vander, Zanden 1993). Usually this is an idea or something abstract. In Starbucks’ case, it is the smell of coffee that fills the air with the coffee smell that stimulates people to buy more, relax and savor the classy atmosphere.
The coffee beans, brochures and CD purchased from the store are also objects that represent the outlet to everyone. People can get coffee mug with their personalized pictures on it. The displayed objects are powerful code or shorthand for representing and dealing with aspects of the corporate world (Hewitt, 1994).
The significance of symbols as socializing mechanisms lies in the attitudes they conjure up and the accompanying behavior they stimulate. The space of the outlet is comfortably arranged with several sofa and chairs arranged to accommodate groups of people coming in the place. There is a sense of harmony in the layout and arrangement, which relaxes customers.
According to anthropology professor Leslie White (1960), “All culture (civilization) depends upon the symbol. Much as we would like to think so, energy, pride, loyalty and a passion for work are not created by an organizational structure, a leader, a product, or a work process. They are all created by people who work together every day in organizations. These members of the workforce have dreams, hopes, and expectations.
Site’s sense of place
Starbucks is one place where almost all the senses are stimulated. Foremost here is the sense of smell. All this smelling goes on at an almost subconscious level. Humans are least attentive to the olfactory sense. Yet it is our most ancient sense and is most closely linked to our memory and emotions.
The maintenance and development of this quality experience requires a strong organizational commitment. The 1990s saw Starbucks expand its talent pool on the most influential senior levels, with key additions contributing greatly to the evolution of the company’s business lines. Howard Schultz began assembling an experienced team of professionals to drive Starbucks’ growth.
The pursuit of first-class quality drove Starbucks back up the coffee supply chain when it encountered stiff competition. Coffee, though second only to petroleum in volume of global trading, was highly fragmented. It was estimated that a full one-third of the world’s coffee farms were three acres or less in size.
This typically resulted in a consolidation process which handed off coffee from farmer to collector, collector to miller, miller to exporter or broker, and finally to importer. In the past, the importer and brokers then sold coffee to the large mass-market coffee roasters and producers.
Connection to cultural context
Starbucks defines their social responsibility as “conducting our business in ways that produce social, environmental, and economic benefits to the communities in which we operate. In the end, it means being responsible to our stakeholders.” (Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report). There is growing recognition of the need for corporate accountability. Consumers are demanding more than “product” from their favorite brands.
Employees are choosing to work for companies with strong values. Shareholders are more inclined to invest in businesses with outstanding corporate reputations. Quite simply, being socially responsible is not only the right thing to do, it can distinguish a company from its industry peers.” (Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Report).
Starbucks is the place where groups gather for the expression of their values and attitudes. This cultural site, therefore, serves as a meeting place for those who just want to express themselves and their individuality, without any disturbances. The chairs are arranged closed to each other but everyone is there to mind his own business.
Usually Starbucks is built near a commercial area but there are now outlets near exclusive villages and neighborhoods. In a big commercial area, relationships are more fragmented and it is unlikely that one would just by chance see a friend at a restaurant, simply because there are so many restaurants available to eat at in a large town. Thus, establishing a new one in the neighborhood encourages interaction with different types of groups.
While employees clearly come first in the Starbucks culture, the customer is a close second. Starbucks’ fourth guiding principle is to “Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time.” “We recognized early on that the equity of the Starbucks brand was going to be the retail experience that the customers had in our stores,” says Schultz, the company’s CEO.
Indeed, Starbucks has come a long way from its very beginnings. It has been able to identify the things it does so well – from the simplest service procedure to the massive, company wide operation. It has proven time and again that the business strengths will be small isolated islands of effectiveness. The key, as Starbucks has unlocked, is finding these strengths and using them as foundation cornerstones that support the entire reinvention strategy it does almost naturally.
Cite this essay
Cultural Site Paper: Starbucks. (2018, Sep 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/cultural-site-paper-starbucks-essay