Starbucks Is Brewing Up a Content-Led Media Company

Starbucks is brewing more than just coffee. The company is reportedly planning to back a media company, with journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran formerly of The Washington Post.

Chandrasekaran revealed the move through his personal Twitter account, noting that he will be leaving the newspaper to set up a firm that will produce social-impact content with Starbucks.

According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the initiative will start with veterans’ issues, and be tied to a book about this subject named For Love of Country, co-authored by Chandrasekaran and Starbucks chief executive (CEO) Howard Schultz.

The coffee chain will help distribute and promote select social-impact projects produced by Chandrasekaran’s production start-up.

“Social responsibility has been an integral aspect of Starbucks’ brand for over five years. ​And creating a production company dedicated to producing non-fiction documentaries in that vein only strengthens that association [and gives] Starbucks a chance to contribute content that isn’t Starbucks-related,” says Victor Pineiro, vice president of social media at agency Big Spaceship.

“As journalist Tom Foremski put it last year, ‘Real media companies don’t create media about themselves,’ and while Starbucks isn’t (yet) a real media company, this feels like the next step ​for the brand to go that route,” Pineiro continues.

Starbucks is not the first major brand that has delved into content creation. Energy drink Red Bull started producing a wide variety of magazines through its own media house a long time ago, and GoPro has been utilizing social publishing platforms to make consumers want to buy its cameras.

But compared to them, Starbucks will be able to distinguish itself from the crowd by creating content with a focus on social issues.

“Clearly, socially conscious, American-focused content creates a strong halo effect for the brand among U.S. consumers, which can only help ​to ​differentiate it,” Pineiro notes. “And being that brands live in a trust economy, broadcasting your values by making a big investment in this kind of content seems like something we’re going to be seeing a lot ​more of in the near future.”

Image via Shutterstock.

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