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Starbucks Mission, Vision and Values analysis

Starbucks marketing strategy

Mission, Vision and Core Values at Starbucks – Inspiring and nurturing humanity

The mission and vision statements of brands are mostly a reflection of their business and its future. Where a mission statement is considered the reason that a company exists for or the demand it is trying to fulfill, a vision statement is more like a future plan. A vision statement sets the course for future helping the brands navigate towards it through changing market situations. Brands also update their mission statements from time to time. It is just like changing or adjusting your course when you feel you might have deviated.

There are several brands whose vision statement is same as their mission statements.  For several of them, their mission also serves the purpose of a vision statement. Take for example Google which has a one-liner for its mission statement and still it is to a degree effective because it defines both its purpose and its future. Starbucks has covered several important milestones in its history to arrive where it is today. In the meantime it has also changed its mission statement. The brand had achieved a critical milestone of more than 22,500 stores in 2015. Apart from that 99% of its coffee is sourced ethically. Most notable thing about Starbucks is its special emphasis on ethics.

Starbucks Mission and Vision:

Not very long ago, Starbucks’ mission statement read something like this:

“To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world and become a national company with values and guiding principles that employees could be proud of.“ — Starbucks vision statement, 2008.

This could not be considered a perfect vision because if it was keeping something aside then it was the competition. Becoming most recognized and respected is not easy.  It is just like saying that  you have the best strategy, so you are the best. This was not specific or achievable. Yes, if it was like being most recognized and respected in the world of coffee then that could have been somewhat more achievable. It is because today Starbucks is right there. The vision statements are more like scales that companies uses to measure their actions, decisions and ideas against. The second part of the statement sounds more achievable. Having a company with values and based on principles that everyone can be proud of is not something unachievable. Some years later Starbucks adopted a new vision and mission statement which has held since then.

The new mission statement of Starbucks is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”.

What is so inspiring about the new mission statement. It is also not very precise but definitely reflects the special focus of Starbucks on the customer. There are two things that are notable about Starbucks’ mission statement. The first is the human spirit. The second is the oneness – one cup, one person, one neighborhood. Seen from an analytical angle there are several things missing from this statement whether we consider it a mission or a vision. It does not spell out, its market, its customers or even its employees. It highlights none of those aspects of business.  It spells out more like a philosophy at whose center is each customer. Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit. Businesses are for the human society and Starbucks believes in remaining focused on that. It is why its focus is on ethical sourcing, maintaining ethics and compliance in every part of its business and on investing in  environment and empowerment. So, it believes in nurturing the human spirit and inspiring others to do so by creating a more human society.

The second part of the mission statement is focused on the customer. It says one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. One person – means every person is special including customers and employees. It provides best customer service and with regards to employee empowerment too it does a lot. It has created a harmonious work environment where everyone can give his best; an environment that  is free of discrimination and where people can collaborate to create most satisfaction. One cup- Every cup that Starbucks serves is special. This is the part of its mission statement that focuses on quality. It sources only the best quality coffee from several parts of the world ethically because it believes that those who grow coffee must benefit. However, the real thing is how Starbucks does it. Every coffee served to Starbucks customers is special and is prepared with utmost care. The premium flavor and aroma of Starbucks coffee is distinct in itself. One neighborhood – This part is about the overall ecosystem of the Starbucks or to be more precise regarding the environment at the Starbucks stores. Starbucks has established a culture of customer service. Its third stop philosophy is well known. It gives its customers a place between home and workplace where they can relax and enjoy premium quality coffee.

Most mission statements are either product oriented or customer oriented. Starbucks’ mission statement does not talk about its product. It is more or less directed at the customer. Whether it is about nurturing the human spirit or one cup, one person, it is more about serving the customer and the humanity. So, it is a customer oriented mission statement. However, if Starbucks were to have a separate vision statement, then it must be about where the brand is set for. However, it is already the number one in the field it operates in and has also achieved 99% of its goal of ethical sourcing of Coffee. All these things are excellent and it looks like its mission statement also provides guidance on its everyday operations. However, if Starbucks decided to change its mission statement, it must include more about its market position and target  market as well as products. Despite being a good vision, it fails in some regards. It fails to be specific even if it looks achievable. It does not address all the stakeholders and places most of the focus on the customers only. Moreover, it needs to be more specific so as to provide guidance on everyday decision making and resource allocation.

Starbucks Values

Values play an important role with regards to the achievement of the business’ goals. If Starbucks is on the mission to see its business driven by humanity then its values support its everyday actions in a way that the goal can be realized. Here are its core values:

With our partners, our coffee and our customers at our core, we live these values:

  • Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.
  • Acting with courage, challenging the status quo and finding new ways to grow our company and each other.
  • Being present, connecting with transparency, dignity and respect.
  • Delivering our very best in all we do, holding ourselves accountable for results.

We are performance driven, through the lens of humanity.

There are three things its core values are focused at. They are the partners from whom it sources its raw materials, the coffee or the product and the customers. Culture specifically is a very important part of business from which its success story begins. Companies that have established a culture of empowerment and collaboration have found it easier to raise their workers’ productivity. Starbucks too has established a culture of collaboration where everybody feels included and welcome. Another important thing is innovation and nobody has moved ahead without challenging the status quo. Transparency, dignity and respect, all the three are related to ethics and accountability which is an important focus area for Starbucks. Being accountable and delivering with confidence – another important value that stresses on accountability. At last, Starbucks despite being driven by performance is fueled by humanity.

Written by Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.

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