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JWT to develop Starbucks China digital strategy

Seeing the swaying power of social media in the fast growing Chinese market Starbucks China is strengthening its social media and digital strategy. To take this forward the Seattle-based coffee company has awarded JWT Shanghai its digital strategy and social media engagement business. To help reach that goal, Starbucks & JWT Shanghai have signed a two-year contract, which kicked in on May this year. The strategy involves around getting more earned media rather than look at paid media.

“We went through an extensive review of agencies and selected JWT because we feel JWT has the depth of expertise in the digital space that Starbucks is looking for. They presented thoughtful recommendations on how continue to build the Starbucks brand digitally and recommended creative applications of new and existing digital tactics,” said Marie Han Silloway, chief marketing officer, Starbucks China.

She further informed that JWT’s knowledge of the China digital media landscape, and proven expertise in creating content and managing social media for other major clients, including Friso, Pizza Hut and Levi’s Denizen, also played a big role in the selection process. Currently Starbucks has over 570 outlets in China. It has plans to grow the number of store in the country to 1,500 by the end of 2015. That would make China the company’s second biggest market worldwide.

To help this growth the coffee company is looking at digital and social media as the key component. That is why Starbucks China will focus on social media engagement. JWT will manage Starbucks brand pages across social media networks Sina Weibo,  Kaixin, and Renren. “We’re thrilled to be working with Starbucks, who are known for their innovation and leadership in both the coffee industry and in digital marketing. Starbucks has consistently been an early adopter of new digital platforms, such as Facebook, Foursquare & Instagram. We will apply this same pioneering approach to the Chinese digital media landscape, and look forward to sharing many exciting engagement programs in the coming months,” said Eugene Chew, director of Digital Strategy for JWT Shanghai.

In addition, JWT will utilize the latest digital technology to keep Starbucks top of mind even when consumers are not in the store. It will push for digital engagement via new mobile and online platforms, like Weibo, to build Starbuck’s fan community, drive participation in product promotions, and enhance the overall Starbucks customer experience by providing customers with surprising new ways to interact with the brand.

JWT has been aggressively building out its digital capabilities in China, investing in digital specialists and integrating those experts into its traditional brand teams. This integrated model has helped JWT Shanghai land a number of key digital project wins in 2012, including HSBC, Listerine, Sofy and Ford.