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Be more like the PSL!

Now that it’s October, and the leaves are starting to turn – and, in many places, are already falling – it’s absolutely time to start talking about it.

You know what I’m about to say… you feel it in your spice-craving bones. Yes, I’m talking about the PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!

Sort of. While even I’m not immune to its wow factor with taste (despite not loving flavored drinks), the branding for this singular drink and the crave factor it has created is nothing short of brilliant. So, of course, I wanted to look at how this brand addiction came to be. If you’ve read my latest ebook, or my book, Expand, Grow, Thrive, you know that I use Starbucks often when I talk about personal branding because I think the brand does an amazing job of building trust through consistency.

I stumbled upon this article from Artisan Talent, and love their observations about the fact that, despite Starbucks’ widespread social media reach, the PSL has truly become its own living brand. The article points to the ways in which Starbucks really capitalizes on this “short term” piece, and offer ideas for entrepreneurs to do the same with their own brands:

☕️ Be “Once a Year”: The authors ask, “is there a particular season you really shine? If you excel at creating great, graphic Christmas Cards, go all out in promoting that piece of your ‘brand’s product.’” What can you pick out about your brand that you can emphasize one time per year
☕️ Tease a Little: The authors say “the best brands know that anticipation is half the fun…Use social media to put out teaser posts like the PSL does. And don’t be afraid to humble brag. Did you score a major client or speaking engagement? Be excited and share it with the world.” It’s great to emphasize something about our brand that adds value to our target audience. Teasing about the reveal and playing to people’s sense of wanting to know and be a part of it – particularly when there is a limited time component – plays to our addictiveness, which is a very helpful sales tactic.
☕️ Stick with What You Know: I love that they point out that “you won’t see the Pumpkin Spice Latte tweeting about gardening. Find out what you want your brand voice to be. Pick your niche and stick with the 2-3 topics you excel at when it comes to creating online content.” What you know is essential. Who is your target audience, and what are their needs? How do you meet those needs better than any other brand? Staying within these guardrails is critical to our authenticity.

I think there’s no harm in striving to be more like the PSL with your branding. It’s a very successful model of a brand that knows how to market themselves and their products, proving that with the right strategy, anyone else can do the same! What are your thoughts?