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Does this cup make me look fat?

: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

This study looks at the brand personality of Starbucks coffee company. The research is meant to further investigate the theory that Starbucks has become a feminized brand. An online survey was conducted in which a feminized brand personality scale and a masculine brand personality scale were used to gauge participant’s perceptions of the femininity of the brand. Participants were also asked to rate the “coolness” of Starbucks. It was found that females perceive Starbucks to be cooler than males do. Starbucks also tested to be more feminine than the other brands tested based on the brand personality scales. INTRODUCTION: Based on our situation analysis of Starbucks, we wanted to determine whether the Starbucks brand is becoming feminized. Upon researching the company, we found that the brand is more popular among women—63% of women have preference for Starbucks as opposed to 32% of men (Simmons, 2011). We originally believed that certain aspects of Starbucks’ branding strategies appeal to more feminine values, making the brand more attractive to female consumers. The difference in popularity between genders is detrimental to Starbucks because men are deterred from purchasing their products; excluding a number of potential consumers. By understanding the issues behind this problem, Starbucks will be able to sustain, if not increase, its number of male consumers, leading to an increase in brand popularity and revenue. Research has helped us to better understand this situation by showing that Starbucks, while not completely feminized, is more feminine than other brands. We have also discovered that females are more likely to consider Starbucks a “cool” brand. METHODOLOGY: Our goal was to understand the following research question: Is the Starbucks brand feminized? We hypothesized that Starbucks has more feminine attributes, causing a significant

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

gap between number of female and male consumers. The methodology employed for answering this question was a survey involving masculine brand personality (MBP) and feminine brand personality (FBP) scales, as used in Bianca Grohmann’s 2009 study, Gender Dimensions of Brand Personality. “The MBP/FBP scale is two-dimensional and measures masculine and feminine brand personality traits. The brand personality measure consists of 12 characteristics with six characteristics per dimension” (Handbook of Marketing Scales, 2011). Grohmann’s study was broken down into seven sub-studies; creating the scale itself, ensuring validity, and testing generalizability, among other things. Our research reflected methods used in “Study 3: Predicting Brand Personality of Existing Brands.” In this study, a set of brands were rated using the MBP/FBP scale. “Two hundred eighty undergraduate students rated one brand of soap, fragrance, deodorant, and soft drink using the 12-item MBP/FBP scale” (Grohmann, 2009). The survey we implemented mimicked Grohmann’s Study 3, involving twelve Likerttype items pertaining to Starbucks, using the MBP/FBP scale descriptors tested successfully by Grohmann. The feminine descriptors used were “sensitive,” “expresses tender feelings,” “graceful,” “sweet,” “tender,” and “fragile.” The masculine descriptors included “adventurous,” “sturdy,” “aggressive,” “dominant,” “brave,” and “daring.” As in Grohmann’s study, undergraduate participants rated the descriptiveness of a given descriptor, as it pertains to Starbucks, using a nine point scale, from “not at all descriptive” to “extremely descriptive.” We also included identical questions about other large corporations in order to see how Starbucks was gendered compared to other brands. Using a random number generator found on Random.org, we selected three of the top 100 brands as defined by Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. The additional brands incorporated into our survey in addition to Starbucks were Home Depot, McDonald’s, and Blackberry.

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

The survey was broken up into sections by brand—Starbucks first, then McDonald’s, then Home Depot, and then Blackberry. A random number generator determined the order in which the 12 descriptors would be listed, and this order was kept consistent across each of the four brand sections. In this portion of the survey, the independent variable was gender, allowing us to determine if males and females viewed Starbucks differently. The dependent variable was the perceived gender of brand personality. A later addition to our survey involved participants ranking different brands on a scale of “coolness,” in order to evaluate if males and females access brands as “cool” in the same way. We selected 10 logos using a random selection method like before. The list included H&M, Nintendo, Blackberry, Facebook, Home-Depot, McDonalds, Mercedes-Benz, Pampers, Red Bull, and Starbucks. Likert-like scales were designed to test the variables of “cool” for each, asking “How cool do you find the following brands?” using an image of each brand’s logo in the question. Participants then rated each brand on a scale of 1 to 9; 1 being “not at all cool,” and 9 being “very cool.” This scale was not replicated on one previously found. Again, a random number generator was used to determine the order that the ten brands would be listed. This second section assessing brand “coolness” was implemented to provide additional research in the case that the results of the first portion of the survey did not hold true to our hypothesis. For this section of the survey, the independent variable was gender, and the dependent variable was the perceived “coolness” of each brand tested. RESULTS: In Grohmann’s original study, 280 undergraduate students were sampled. In order to obtain generalizability and stability, we needed a relatively large sample as well. Our goal was to

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

have at least 200 undergraduate participants—assuming each of our five group members would be able to recruit 40 subjects. Our sample was obtained using convenience sampling. Each of us sent out a link to our survey using Facebook and Twitter. We ended up with 140 participants (N=140) who fully completed the survey; however the sample was largely female—74% of the respondents were female, and only 26% male. Part 1—Is Starbucks a feminized brand? Our first research question was “Is Starbucks as a brand becoming feminized?” Using a paired samples t-test, we compared the mean the masculinity score to the mean of the femininity score for each brand tested. Each of the means was then divided by 6 (number of masculine and feminine descriptors) to obtain a single masculine and feminine rating for each brand on a 9 point scale. Pair 1 (Starbucks): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare attitudes toward the Starbucks brand in masculinity and femininity. A significant difference was found between Starbucks’ masculinity (M = 28.21, SD = 11.00) and Starbucks’ femininity (M = 26.19, SD = 10.59); t(139) = 2.21, p < 0.05. Starbucks’ average masculinity score (after dividing by 6 for each descriptor) was 4.70 on the 9 point scale. Starbucks average femininity score was 4.36 on the 9 point scale. Pair 2 (McDonalds): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare attitudes toward the McDonalds brand in masculinity and femininity. A significant difference was found between McDonalds’ masculinity (M = 27.41, SD = 10.43) and McDonalds’ femininity (M = 16.31, SD = 9.65); t(139) = 13.14, p < 0.05. McDonalds’ average masculinity score was 4.57 on the 9 point scale. McDonalds’ average femininity score was 2.72 on the 9 point scale.

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

Pair 3 (Home Depot): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare attitudes toward the Home Depot brand in masculinity and femininity. A significant difference was found between Home Depot’s masculinity (M = 29.00, SD = 11.77) and Home Depot’s femininity (M = 15.99, SD = 10.07); t(139) = 11.61, p < 0.05. Home Depot’s average masculinity score was 4.83 on the 9 point scale. Home Depot’s femininity score was 2.66 on the 9 point scale. Pair 4 (Blackberry): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare attitudes toward the Blackberry brand in masculinity and femininity. A significant difference was found between Blackberry’s masculinity (M = 25.79, SD = 11.81) and Blackberry’s femininity (M = 18.78, SD = 9.74); t(139) = 8.79, p < 0.05. Blackberry’s masculinity score was 4.30 on the 9 point scale. Blackberry’s femininity score was 3.13 on the 9 point scale.

Paired Samples Statistics Mean Pair 1 Starbucks Masculinity Score starbucks Feminity score Pair 2 Pair 3 mcdonaldsmasculinityScore mcdonalds femininity Score homedepot masculinity Score homedepot feminine Pair 4 blackberry masculinity blackberry femininity 15.9857 25.7929 18.7786 140 140 140 10.07453 11.81055 9.74278 .85145 .99817 .82342 28.2143 26.1857 27.4071 16.3071 28.9929 N 140 140 140 140 140 Std. Deviation 10.99953 10.59292 10.43024 9.64693 11.77150 Std. Error Mean .92963 .89526 .88152 .81531 .99487

 

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

A second series of paired-samples t-tests was conducted to compare Starbucks’ femininity score to the femininity scores of the other 3 brands tested: Pair 1 (Starbucks & McDonalds): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare degree of femininity between Starbucks and McDonalds. A significant difference was

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

found between Starbucks’ femininity (M = 26.19, SD = 10.59) and McDonalds’ femininity (M = 16.31, SD = 9.65); t(139) = 10.41, p < 0.05. Pair 2 (Starbucks & Home Depot): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare degree of femininity between Starbucks and Home Depot. A significant difference was found between Starbucks’ femininity (M = 26.19, SD = 10.59) and Home Depot’s femininity (M = 15.99, SD = 10.07); t(139) = 10.35, p < 0.05. Pair 3 (Starbucks & Blackberry): A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare degree of femininity between Starbucks and Blackberry. A significant difference was found between Starbucks’ femininity (M = 26.19, SD = 10.59) and Blackberry’s femininity (M = 18.78, SD = 9.74); t(139) = 8.17, p < 0.05.
Paired Samples Statistics Mean Pair 1 starbucks Feminity score mcdonalds femininity Score Pair 2 Pair 3 starbucks Feminity score homedepot feminine starbucks Feminity score blackberry femininity 26.1857 16.3071 26.1857 15.9857 26.1857 18.7786 N 140 140 140 140 140 140 Std. Deviation 10.59292 9.64693 10.59292 10.07453 10.59292 9.74278 Std. Error Mean .89526 .81531 .89526 .85145 .89526 .82342

 

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

Finally, a Cronbach’s Alpha test was conducted to test internal consistency and scale reliability. The scale across all brands had a Cronbach’s Alpha of α = .869, proving that the scale was definitely reliable.
Reliability Statistics Cronbach's Alpha .869 N of Items 8

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

Part 2—Is Starbucks considered cool? The second section of the survey explored what brands people considered to be “cool”. The brands that were tested were H&M, Nintendo, Blackberry, Facebook, Starbucks, MercedesBenz, Home Depot, McDonalds, Pampers, and Red Bull. Coolness was measured on a scale of 19, with 1 being “not cool at all” and 9 being “very cool”. Descriptive statistics were taken in which the mean, median, and mode were studied. The brand that tested the highest in terms of coolness was Mercedes-Benz, with a mean coolness rating of 7.48. The brand that tested the lowest in terms of coolness was Pampers with a mean coolness rating of 2.8. Starbucks’ mean coolness rating was 6.96, and has the third highest cool rating of all the companies tested.

Brand Mercedes-Benz Facebook Starbucks H&M Red Bull Blackberry Nintendo Home Depot McDonalds Pampers

Overall Mean Coolness Rating 7.48 7.10 6.96 6.55 5.82 5.36 4.97 4.01 3.55 2.80

Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

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Does this cup make me look fat?: A survey of Starbucks’ femininity

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An important part of the results for the coolness rating was the differences between males and females. An independent sample t-test was conducted to determine whether there was a significant difference between what females perceived to be cool and what men perceived to be cool. The following table reports the results that were found:
Brand Gender N Mean Std. Deviation 2.136 1.760 2.418 2.445 2.340 2.1033 1.853 1.725 1.891 1.739 1.716 1.816 2.007 1.895 2.298 1.911 1.767 1.913 2.549 2.295 .662 .537 .669 Not Significant Not Significant Not Significant .004 .335 Not Significant Significant .004 Significant .013 .065 Not Significant Significant .009 Significant Significance (2-tailed) .008 Significant or not? Significant

H&M

Male Female

35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104 35 104

5.71 6.83 5.91 4.65 4.771 5.558 6.46 7.32 6.20 7.21 7.23 7.57 4.83 3.74 3.69 3.50 2.63 2.86 5.97 5.77

Nintendo

Male Female

Blackberry

Male Female

Facebook

Male Female

Starbucks

Male Female

Mercedes-Benz

Male Female

Home Depot

Male Female

McDonalds

Male Female

Pampers

Male Female

Red Bull

Male Female

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There was a significant difference between males and females in perceived coolness of H&M such that females (n=104, M=6.83, SD=1.76) perceived H&M to be cooler than males (n=35, M=5.71, SD=2.14) (t(139)= 2.78, p < 0.05). There was a significant difference between males and females in perceived coolness of Nintendo such that males (n=35, M=5.91, SD=2.42) perceived Nintendo to be cooler than females (n=104, M=4.65, SD=2.45) (t(139)=2.65, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between males (n=35, M=4.77, SD=2.34) and females (n=35, M=5.56, SD=2.10) in perceived coolness of Blackberry (t(139)=1.86, p=0.065). There was a significant difference between males and females in perceived coolness of Facebook such that females (n=104, M=7.32, SD=1.73) perceived Facebook to be cooler than males (n=35, M=6.46, SD=1.85) (t(139)=2.50, p < 0.05).

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There was a significant difference between males and females in perceived coolness of Starbucks such that Females (n=104, M=7.21, SD=1.74) perceived Starbucks to be cooler than males (n=35, M=6.2, SD=1.89) (t(139)=2.91, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between males (n=35, M=7.23, SD=1.72) and females (n=104, M=7.57, SD=1.82) in the perceived coolness of Mercedes-Benz (t(139)=0.97, p=0.335). The was a significant difference between males and females in perceived coolness of Home Depot such that males (n=35, M= 4.83, SD=2.01) perceived Home Depot to be cooler than females (n=104, M=3.74, SD=1.9) (t(139)=2.90, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between males (n=35, M=3.69, SD=2.3) and females (n=104, M=3.5, SD=1.91) in the perceived coolness of McDonalds (t(139)=0.431, p=0.669). There was no significant difference between males (n=35, M=2.63, SD=1.77) and females (n=104, M=2.86, SD=1.91) in the perceived coolness of Pampers (t(139)=0.62, p=0.537). There was no significant difference between males (n=35, M=5.97, SD=2.55) and females (n=104, M=5.77, SD=2.3) in the perceived coolness of Red Bull (t(139)=0.438, p=0.662). DISCUSSION: Through Part 1 of our study, which analyzed brand gender, we discovered that Starbucks is not exactly feminized, however it is the least masculine of all the brands tested. We found that Starbucks was rated rather neutrally, but out of all the masculine-feminine paired t-tests conducted, Starbucks was ranked the most feminine of all brands tested, in that it was the least masculine. Home Depot was found as the most masculine of the brands, followed by

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McDonalds, then by Blackberry, and then Starbucks. We also found that Starbucks ranked highest in femininity when comparing Starbucks’ femininity to score to those of the other brands through a paired-samples t-test. These results were not quite as expected, but can still contribute to our theory. While these findings were not exactly aligned with our original hypothesis that the brand is completely feminized, we can still see that Starbucks is not as masculine as a variety of other brands, which could contribute to Starbucks’ lower numbers of male consumers when compared to females. Additionally, the results found Part 2, the coolness rating section of the survey, show that females consider Starbucks to be significantly cooler than males do. The only brands that females found to be cooler than Starbucks were Mercedes-Benz and Facebook. These results were expected, which is reflected in our hypothesis. This supports our hypothesis that Starbucks is becoming an increasingly feminized brand because there is a significant difference the female “coolness” rating of Starbucks in comparison to the male “coolness” rating. The only major flaw in our study was the disproportionate number of female and male participants. We had 104 female respondents and only 35 males. This could have impacted the results we received because if one male answered completely differently than the other males then the mean coolness rating could have been affected greatly. In comparison, if a female had answered completely differently than the other females the mean would not have been affected as much as the male mean could have been. This may have skewed the results of our survey in that our male results were not as externally valid as our female results.

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CONCLUSION: Overall, the results of our research show that the Starbucks brand, while not absolutely feminized, still appeals more to females. Starbucks is the least masculine of the four brands studied. Additionally, Starbucks is more likely to be ranked as “cool” by females than it is by males. These results allow us to further understand the reasons behind the male-female discrepancy in Starbucks consumers. An extension to this study would be to compare Starbucks to brands that are perceived by the researcher as definitely feminine, instead of using random selection, in order to see how Starbucks ranks compared to highly feminized brands. This might help gain a better perspective of how feminized Starbucks actually is, by seeing if it is rated similarly to other brands that are perceived as definitely feminine. This study could be improved by increasing the number of participants to at least meet the number used in Grohmann’s study. It could also be improved by ensuring more equal numbers of male and female participants. Both of these improvements would add stability to the results of the study, gaining a more accurate depiction of male and female attitudes toward Starbucks and other brands. Aside from brand genderization, there may be additional factors that deter males from purchasing Starbucks. A future study, such as a focus group or interviews involving male consumers, could be conducted that examines their reasons for not consuming Starbucks. Perhaps male coffee drinkers prefer another brand of coffee, or maybe males purchase another product entirely, such as energy drinks.

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RECOMMENDATIONS: Our results exemplified that Starbucks is a more feminized brand when compared to other brands. In addition, men viewed Starbucks as significantly less “cool” than females. We believe our client should take action to masculinize their brand and also make their brand “cooler” in the eyes of the male population. We think that Starbucks can do this by altering their advertising campaigns. Indeed, Starbucks does very little in traditional advertising. We think that Starbucks could benefit by using more traditional advertising geared towards males. Millward Brown, a global marketing research organization, conducted a study on how men and women respond differently to advertisements. Their results showed that men respond better to humorous ads, more specifically, spoofs (Millward Brown, 2011). We believe that Starbucks could be viewed as taking itself very seriously, and it would serve the brand well to develop a sense of humor. Starbucks can do this by spoofing itself in commercials. Although Starbucks brand is not feminized, their advertising approach is not targeted towards men either. Our creative advertisement would display a buff “manly” man holding a Starbucks drink with a stereotyped, “girly” name. This would target the male audience in a humorous way. Our commercial would be designed after the same platform. A man would go into a Starbucks and order a long drink like a, “Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, decaf, no foam, extra hot, pumpkin spice with light whip and extra syrup… please... oh and a birthday cake pop,” and act pleased when he receives it. A voiceover then would say, “The coffee makes the man.” We think a strong male advertisement would benefit the Starbucks culture and introduce more males to the brand. We also think that Starbucks could benefit from doing product placements in shows watched primarily by men such as Curb Your Enthusiasm on the HBO network. We think that a

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show like Curb Your Enthusiasm would be the best fit because it would be in our target market. HBO is a premium channel in the same way that Starbucks is a premium product. It would definitely add that humorous edge we are looking to attain. Ultimately, we want our recommendations to bring in more males without losing the interest and business of females. This would draw in more of the male population and could help Starbucks maximize their customer-base and profits. The comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, follows Larry David, a semi-fictional character of himself, co-creator of Seinfeld. Larry, a “mook,” is a single man discovering the dating scene of Los Angeles (Curb Your Enthusiasm: About the Show, 2011). We selected this particular show because the recent season’s premier broadcast drew an audience of 1.7 million during the 10 pm showing, up 53% from the last season. 2.1 million viewers was the total after the midnight showing (Curb Your Enthusiasm Premiere Ratings Highest Since 2004). The advertisement would have to be careful not to mock Starbucks, or offend women but attract men. Ideas for the placement would be for the barista at Starbucks to write flirty messages on the cups, or changing Larry’s name to pet names. The creative advertising platform was discussed from the idea that we needed to branch out our target advertising to men. We would place the male ads in non-gender specific magazines like Time and Entertainment as well as men’s magazines like GQ and Men’s Health Magazine. According to Sanjay Putrevu, “compared to women, men will generate more positive affect and stronger PI that are simple and focus one or a few key features” (Putrevu 53). Placing a specific product advertisement in these magazines will help our target audience because “men are itemspecific processors, whereas women are relational” (Putrevu 54). Our ads are simple enough to display only one brand, and not concentrate on forming a direct relationship.

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REFERENCES: Bearden, W. O., Netemeyer, R. G., & Haws, K. L. (2011). Handbook of marketing scales: Multiitem measures for marketing and consumer behavior research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. "Curb Your Enthusiasm: About the Show." HBO. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.hbo.com/curb-your-enthusiasm/about/index.html>. "Curb Your Enthusiasm Premiere Ratings Highest Since 2004." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. Web. 05 Dec. 2011. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/12/ curb-your-enthusiasm-ratings-premiere_n_896295.html>. Grohmann, B. (2009), “Gender Dimensions of Brand Personality,” Journal of Marketing Research, 46 (January), 105-19. Millward Brown. (2011). Do men and women respond differently to ads? Retrieved from: http://www.wpp.com/NR/rdonlyres/1DD86CF1-C93A-49C6-94FC653889D60652/0/millward_brown_men_women.pdf National Consumer Study. (2007) [Data file]. In Choices 3. Starbucks: Experian Simmons. Sanjay Putrevu . Communicating with the Sexes: Male and Female Responses to Print Advertisements Journal of Advertising , Vol. 33, No. 3 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 51-62 Schept, K., Naim, L., WPP, & Millward Brown. (2011). Brandz Top 100 most valuable global brands. Retrieved from http://c3232792.r92.cf0.rackcdn.com/WPP_BrandZ_2011.pdf