What is it about the 'Red Cup'? Find Your 'It'.

If anyone has patronized Starbucks recently (since Nov. 2nd), you know that their signature, seasonal red cup is out again. Seems a bit early, but then again, if we are following retail's schedule - 'tis the season. With the cool winds and the leaves floating gleefully off of the bare trees, I am going out on a limb to say that I'm not the only one happy to be carrying one of these in my hands. There is something about the warmth that I wrap my hands around. Obviously, the cup does a stellar job at warming my bright pink, chilled fingers. But somehow, it warms my soul, my heart and even brings a bit of comfort - one that I can experience over and over again. Sometimes in the same day.

So how does a paper red cup stir up someone emotionally? So much so that there is a phone app, dedicated websites and You Tube videos for the cup (most of which are set up by fanatical fans). Well, for starters, it signals the start (and color) of a season we are already emotionally attached to.  Then, it helps that it is the time of year when it's cold outside (for most of us), so we are more motivated to drink warm beverages - so selling the warm beverage during the cold season surely fills a need.

Next, it is offered with special blends of coffee drinks. Since the drinks, in the cups, are both offered for a limited time, fans are trying to get their fill in fast. Yet, they are still wanting more come January.  Starbucks makes it an experience - not just coffee (or tea). They want you to share stories, be charitable - they promote a campaign of 'good'. (Something we all like to feel?) Finally, there is a bonding experience between coffee drinkers and, most especially, the brand.

How can you brew up a red cup of your own?

  • Dig into your treasure chest of product or service goodies. Or find a new one. Pick out the shiniest goody, one that is most treasured by your customers and most unique to your competition. 
  • Capitalize on it by building an experience around it. Develop a social media plan, build a dedicated website page(s), create a special logo (name, design, etc.), create videos, share customer quotes and even consider Copyright if you are especially excited (and protective).
  • Leave them wanting more. Offer for a limited time or in limited quantities. Make it an annual thing or something to look forward to and build excitement. Offer only to certain customers. Anything that makes it more desirable.

Then sit back and enjoy one nice, hot cup of joe in your hands.