There are few sure to tell signs that summer is coming to an end and fall is approaching: weather gets chillier, schools begin after summer holidays and Pumpkin spice latte makes its annual return on Starbucks menu. I don’t know about you, but I was in fact familiar with this fall treat years before I even had tasted it myself. How? Through social media of course!
Even though the drink was originally developed already in 2003, years before the rise of social, and it was successful even then, I would base some of its current status due to social media, especially Instagram (which I will be focusing on this post). Every year when the drink makes its return, Instagram is flooded by pictures of people enjoying their drink. Starbucks has even launched separate social media pages on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr just for the drink itself called The Real PSL. How does this activity on social media help Starbucks sell Pumpkin spice lattes to even more people?
You may be familiar with AIDA model in marketing. AIDA of course stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. There are many variations of this formula, that add more levels to the basics of making purchase decision. One that I found most interesting, due to it been having added the levels of customer experience and sharing is AISDALSLOVE. This monster is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Search, Desire, Action, Like/Dislike, Share, Love/Hate. I feel it describes more of today’s consumer behaviour.
My own journey with Starbucks’ Pumpkin spice latte, and I believe many others can relate, can be described by using AISDALSLOVE. First is Attention, that came to me via social media. Starbucks has created admirable presence in Instagram, coming by not only the company itself but the consumers as well, sharing pictures of their cups and drinks. That’s how I also got my first glimpse of Pumpkin spice latte. Next step is Interest where consumer becomes interested about the brand and how it would fit their lifestyle. Interest is followed by Search. You start to search information about the brand and their message, externally and internally: does this message fit with my values and idea of myself. For me, this was typing #pumpkinspicelatte into a search board and going through pictures. Next is Desire, consumer begins to feel the need to test the brand themselves.
All this leads to Action: becoming a customer and buying the brand. After trying out the brand you either Like or Dislike it. Personally, I liked it. When you’ve tried out the brand, you usually want to Share your experiences and with modern days, social media is the place to go. After trying out Pumpkin spice latte, I posted a picture on Instagram, with appropriate hashtags obviously to share my experience with wider audience than just my followers. I also tweeted about it and used traditional word-of-mouth by telling all my friends, who for one reason or another don’t follow my social media, about this amazing drink. Last step on the model is Love/Hate, which means developing deeper feelings towards the brand, either love or hate depending on how their experiences have been, which leads to either taking your business elsewhere or becoming a loyal customer.
I, as you can guess, am part of the latter group with Starbucks’ Pumpkin spice latte. Having bought the drink countless of times since my first sip (even though it only sells for couple of months a year, enter sad face) and sharing my love towards it on social media again and again. The circle has come to close and who knows, maybe one of my posts sparks Attention to someone who has never heard of PSL before.
What do you think, does expanding AIDA to AISDALSLOVE make more sense today, especially with social media being such a strong presence in our daily lives? And have you had similar experiences with any brand? Share your thoughts on comment section below.