Starbucks refocuses its brand

SEATTLE: Starbucks is making consumer outreach a priority as it rethinks its entertainment division and returns focus to its core product: coffee.

The company, which works with Edelman as its AOR, has been reaching out to consumers through events, like a nationwide coffee tasting day on April 8; and online media, including the Web sites and

"From a PR perspective, we're looking at how we can maximize the changes that are occurring," said Valerie O'Neil, VP of global communications for Starbucks. These include new coffee roasts and drinks, new equipment in stores, a focus on health and wellness, and an entertainment strategy that concentrates on digital.

"We'll continue to talk about what we're doing within the space of coffee," O'Neil said of the media outreach, "as well as the other things that we're doing to complement the overall Starbucks' experience."

As Starbucks refocuses on coffee and less on producing entertainment, it has been reaching out to national media outlets to inform them on news and new initiatives.

Books and music will still be available for purchase in Starbucks locations, "to complement our coffeehouse experience," O'Neil said, but the company will no longer produce such entertainment. Starbucks handed over day-to-day management of its Hear Music record label to Concord Music Group.

As for internal PR department changes, O'Neil said the company is "still assessing internal organizational structure at this time."

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