Implication of Brand Identity on Starbucks Architectural Environments

Presented by: Kyoung-Im Park

Recent decades have witnessed a significant success of Starbucks. There are over 21,000 stores globally and over 70 million customers visit the stores weekly (Basulto, 2015). Starbucks dominates the coffee shop market worldwide. What aspects of Starbucks’s brand image promote this success and customers’ loyalty? This question has generated to start this research and to study Starbucks stores’ architectural environments as a tool for marketing communication. Designing retail interiors is need to consider many aspects. The first process of design of the retail store is analysis of a brand and identity (Mesher 2010). Schielke and Leudesdorff (2014) explained that the identical image helps companies to build and communicate clear brand identity to the consumer. The combination of branding and interior design in retail stores has been discussed by books and journals (Mesher, 2010; Park, M., Lee, Y., & Lim, H., 2012; Schielke & Leudesdorff, 2015). Scholars studying the relevance of brand identity and interior design report that companies use interior design and symbols to enhance their brand identity (Schielke & Leudesdorff, 2015). The purpose is to explore brand identity, its impact of architectural environments associated with physical symbols or features such as logo, color, brand name, slogan, image, etc. This study focuses on understanding how customers perceive brand identity within architectural environments. In order to analyze the concept of brand identity of Starbucks, Kapferer’s brand identity prism (2012) is used as a framework. This study has been designed to answer the following research questions based on the brand identity prism (see Figure 1): 1. Physique: What are features of the architectural environments associated with the brand to describe? What architectural environments attract customers to visit and revisit? 2. Personality: What color schemes are used to vitalize the brand? 3. Culture: What aspects of value or vision of the brand are conveyed to customer to differentiate the brand? 4. Relationship: What is service level including staffs and general?? 5. Reflection: Are there differences in communication of the brand identity between different types of costumers based on gender, age, or frequency of visits? What is an objective to visit? 6. Self-Image: How do customers identify the brand image within architectural environments? The overall process for this study included the following methods: 1) the collection of information on the physical characteristics of architectural and design attributes in stores, 2) literature review, 3) explore Starbucks’s website, 4) survey, 5) the analyses of collected data, website information, and architectural elements. I analyzed the physique, personality, relationship, and self-image by investigating the architectural environments including the interior space design, ceiling design, ceiling height, luminaire, colors, finish materials, furniture, bathroom design, location of electrical outlets, and any remarkable characteristics. The culture is an intangible facet of the brand which is engaged in ideas, ideals, and values (Kapferer, 2012). I analyzed this facet by focusing on the literature review and Starbucks’s homepage investigation. For comprehending the relationship, I evaluated how space design influences costumer’s level of satisfaction of brand and service. I also considered the staff service quality. Findings indicated the principal elements of brand identity and revealed the relationship among interior design and brand identity (see Figure 2). This study will contribute to the knowledge of the brand identity prism model, which can be utilized as a strong tool to assess the application of brand identity on the design frameworks for coffee shops. Furthermore, this study will serve as a prototype for studies examining the brand identity’s potential influence on the coffee shop design.


  • Basulto, D. (2015, March, 12). How Starbucks’ dominance could one day be threatened. The Washington Post, Retrieved September 30, 2016, from innovations/wp/2015/ 03/12/how-starbucks-dominance-could-one-day-be-threatened/.
  • Kapferer, J. N. (2012). The New Strategic Brand Management: advanced insights and strategic thinking. (5th ed.). London: Kogan Page.
  • Mesher, L. (2010). Basics Interior Design 01: Retail Design, Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.
  • Park, M., Lee, Y., & Lim, H. (2012). Influences on Customer’s Decision-Making by Strategy for Space Design of a Coffeehouse. Journal of Korean Institute of Interior Design, 21, 5, 289-297.
  • Schielke, T. & Leudesdorff, M. (2015). Impact of lighting design on brand image for fashion retail stores. Lighting Research & technology, 47, 672-692.
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