PSL. It’s the acronym that brings life to fall and holiday enthusiasts. The aromatic Pumpkin Spice Latte was initially developed by Starbucks in 2003, and has sold over 350 million units, earning the coveted title of Starbucks’ most popular Holiday drink. This year, Starbucks decided fall hath cometh sooner by unleashing Pumpkin Spice Lattes on August 28th, the earliest release for the drink till date. After seeing Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes success, it was only natural for others to incorporate the IT flavor within their own brands. Pumpkin flavored products are seeing an all-time revenue high this year – reaching $488.8 million dollars as of August 25th, 2018 (prior to the Starbucks release). Seeing that pumpkin spice has hit everything from dog food, to candles, and many other goods, it’s important that brand marketers ride this wave of seasonal success. Here are a few things that brand marketers can learn from the PSL craze:
Who can resist thinking about memories of holidays past after taking a few delicious whiffs of pumpkin spice? Whether its fond childhood memories or limited-edition holiday treats, Pumpkin Spice Lattes have the ability to create a strong emotional holiday connection with consumers. In a chat with Forbes, Bruce Clark (School of Business at Northeastern University marketing professor) explains they are popular because “Fat, sugar, salt, plus the additional boost from caffeine. Finally, the smell of the drink is important as scent is an important trigger for memories and emotions.” One thing marketers should note from the PSL craze is that an emotional holiday connection can be created in many ways, and these connections will encourage repeat customers who look forward to a product or release.
Pumpkin Spice Latte season (and Starbucks infamous Red Cup) signifies that fall (and soon winter) has arrived. Cue: Sweater weather, fireplaces, and pure moments of hygge. Marketers should keep in mind that contextual content is key when establishing genuine brand connection with their audience (for some inspo, check out Starbuck’s dedicated @therealpsl IG account). Take Afters Ice Cream where they promote their Pumpkin Spice Latte flavored ice cream. Pretty colored leaves and Starbucks signature green straws are two elements used in this promotional image. Though the product is ice cream, Afters Ice Cream uses seasonal integration and the usage of the name ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte’ to stand out.
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Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream is coming to all locations this Thursday 10/18! 🎃☕️ Scoops come topped with whipped cream, cinnamon and green sprinkles 🍦 Green straw available upon request 💚 Hurry in! This flavor is available for a limited time only. Tag someone who loves PSL 🍁🍂 #aftersicecream
In order to promote your brands pumpkin offerings, it’s important to work with true Pumpkin Spice Latte cheerleaders. Social cheerleaders are online personalities who have a genuine brand affinity for subjects, in this case Starbucks, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, or Pumpkin anything, really. The proof shows in posting habits, captions, and brand mentions. Choosing to work alongside PSL Cheerleaders (aka Influencers with strong brand affinity) means creating that authentic excitement around brand products and promotions.
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Autumnal vibes in full swing! 🧣🍁🍂🍃🌰🎃 It's well and truly Pumpkin Spice Latte season! To celebrate @starbucksuk Have teamed up with @skinnydiplondon and @lydia_connell and @lucy_connell to create these amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte nail decals. I'm so happy to have been involved in the creative process of this exciting collaboration. Swipe to see the step by step of my #autumnal #starbucks #psl decal nail design. Can't wait to see what nail designs you come up with! #pslnails #pumpkinspicelatte #ad