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Popular stories in the media often originate from a press release. Each month, we pick one of those popular announcements and distill down key PR lessons that you can immediately apply in your own business. This month: an announcement from Starbucks about the sale of its Tazo tea brand to Unilever.

Starbucks Sells Tazo Tea Brand to Unilever, Focuses on Teavana Instead – USA Today

Starbucks’ announcement of the sale of Tazo to Unilever and its strategy to focus on its remaining premium tea brand Teavana garnered massive media attention. It was picked up by dozens of publications ranging from dailies such as USA Today to Forbes and financial news outlets including The Motley Fool.

Why did the media like this story so much and what can we learn from this announcement by Starbucks?

What Works:
  • Strong News Hooks. Riding the tide is a powerful tool in PR. In recent years, tea-drinking has gained momentum and is now considered almost as cool as drinking coffee. In its announcement, Starbucks cleverly taps into this popular trend by focusing on its “up-leveled tea strategy” and its expansion plans for the Teavana brand.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Lack of Detail. Other than providing recent sales numbers, Starbucks fails to go into detail as to why it chose Teavana over Tazo. The reader can only assume it’s because Teavana is a premium tea that can be found in Starbucks stores; whereas, Tazo is a cheaper brand sold primarily in supermarkets and convenience stores.

What We’ve Learned: A Press Release About a Sale Doesn’t Have to Be About the Sale

When you are selling a business, always look for opportunities to promote your remaining brands and explain your strategy. Starbucks cleverly used the sale of Tazo to put Teavana in the limelight. Although its press release primarily targeted investors, this approach enabled Starbucks to also communicate with tea-drinkers and emphasize the luxury nature of its remaining brand.

In this case, Starbucks and Unilever each issued separate statements, which allowed them to target their own audiences with their own stories. That said, it’s typically recommended to issue a joint statement together with the buyer, or at least coordinate your PR efforts with the party on the other side of the transaction.

Check out the original Starbucks announcement here and let me know in the comments section below why you think the media liked this story so much and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Marcel van de Hoef is co-founder of Publiqly, whose step-by-step online systems help entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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