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Brewing up brand loyalty: the rhetorical construction of the Starbucks rewards user interface and how consumer behaviour is influenced through gamification and visual tropes

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posted on 2021-05-24, 10:02 authored by Emily Collins
Today, in the absence of a company’s product or service offering, a mobile-based loyalty application can be used as a non-transactional mechanism to shape consumer behavior. This Major Research Paper takes a look into the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program platform, both from a mobile application as well as a desktop website perspective, to understand how Starbucks generates customer loyalty in the multi-billion-dollar coffee market through the application of game elements and strategic document design within the platform’s user interface. Based on a comprehensive review of Starbucks Rewards, this project addresses the following research questions: 1) In the development of a loyalty application, has Starbucks employed elements that address a consumer’s behavioural motivations for autonomy, competence and relation? and 2) Within the scope of gamification and document design, how are the rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos and logos employed in the user interface visuals of the Starbucks Rewards app and website? Starbucks has carefully employed principles of design within loyalty marketing efforts to manipulate the communicative intent of visualizations, capitalizing on the human mind in favour of company objectives.





Master of Arts


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type