Starbucks is looking to insert its brand into the most popular email client among enterprise users with an extension. Introduced at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in March, the Outlook extension enables users to book meetings at a local Starbucks and send electronic gift cards to each other right in Outlook. It is currently available for various desktop and web-based versions of Outlook with plans to make it available for Outlook’s Mac and mobile apps in the coming months.
What Brands Need To Do
Starbucks’s extension for Outlook is a great example of how brands can integrate themselves into popular platforms and apps that consumers are using daily and provide valuable services, in this case the convenience of choosing a local Starbucks store as a meeting spot within Outlook’s scheduling interface, and the ease of sending people Starbucks gift cards to show your appreciation. Another recent example in this regard is Uber’s Payment Rewards program with Capital One, where the bank inserted its service into the popular ride-hailing app by rewarding its card-carriers with free rides.
As we pointed out in our Outlook 2016, the ongoing trend of “Brand as a Service” means that brands need to deliver true value to consumers – not just with your products but also meeting your customers at a place where you can improve their lives. For brands seeking to stay ahead of the curve and connect with consumers in new channels, it is time to take the “Brand as a Service” approach and explore interesting ways to integrate your brand into a suitable digital platform, be it popular apps like Outlook and Uber, hot messaging apps such as Snapchat and Slack, or emerging live-streaming platforms.