Starbucks packaging personifies brand excellence and encourages consumer participation. There is much more to packaging than an appealing visual design. Starbucks brand conveys a promise of excellence in coffee that is held as a standard throughout the world. It is also a brand that has a commitment to fair trade and carbon neutrality. Because of the company’s brand excellence, the packaging must play a leading role. It should be clean and recyclable, manufactured by people who are paid a fair wage and if at all possible it should have a short supply chain that will be less costly in terms of the entire provisioning process (Starbucks, 2014).

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How can Starbucks create a packaging strategy that is far more than skin deep? Visual design of Starbucks packaging must express how it was created, how it interacts with the environment and how the people who created the packaging products were treated fairly (Starbucks). Message and material must speak eloquently about corporate ethics and be a social reminder that such ethics should always be a part of a consumer’s buying decisions.

Packaging material should have an earthy feel that immediately gives the consumer the idea that they are connected to a greener planet. Colors should always include earth tones, blues and greens.

A message must be included on cups, wrappers and containers. It should contain words like “manufactured locally in Atlanta GA from 100% recycled materials” and “Starbucks is a Fair Trade company”. It might describe or illustrate how to reuse container materials to create another product, including a link to a website providing examples.

Starbucks is a corporation that takes community participation seriously. The packaging needs to tell this story too, in a brief statement and through a corporate link. Let consumers provide suggestions by offering clear direction on how to do so.

From Coffee House to Community Action, Stepping Out of the Box
After quality and branding, product packaging must play a leading advertising role, encouraging repeat business through the product story and direct consumer involvement at the community level. Packaging can be the beginning of a corporate client contract to improve the community, possibly beginning with a questionnaire like “What can Starbucks do to improve this city?”

Starbucks began in Seattle but is now an integral part of social connections worldwide. Now it’s time to step out of that conventional milieu and solve pressing local problems one city at a time.

  • Starbucks. Environment: Pioneering Sustainable Solutions. Retrieved from
  • Starbucks. (2014). What is the Role and Responsibility for a For-Profit Public Company? Retrieved from