Starbucks new brand

Starbucks existing logo
Starbucks existing logo

As a brand man through and through, I have to comment on the new branding for Starbucks.

So, i’ll nail my colours to the mast and say, that I like it. I like what they’ve done and I like their thinking, but i’ll show why and what the risks are.

1. I like it
It’s an evolution. You can see from this graphic that it is the fourth major variant since they started 40 years ago, but none have thrown away the heritage, just moved them along to reflect their current needs. That’s good thinking and good branding.

Starbucks Logo - An illustrated history
Starbucks Logo - An illustrated history

They clearly cut down the number of lines they run, when they dropped spices and tea from the logo to concentrate on coffee. Well, that worked didn’t it. they are a global phenomonem that some may find addictive.

2. It allows them to go into new product areas

This is where the risk lies. Most brand owners think their brands are very stretchy and can work on anything, but very few can in reality. being known for one thing doesn’t make you cool or credible in another. Look at what happened to Porsche when they introduced the more affordable 924 (that they are apparently considering again!).

I can see them doing spices, some cooking products yes, but hardware for cooking, no. Beer, no. Wine, no. Ice cream, yes. Sweets, maybe. Beyond that, i’d be very doubtful it would have any real brand power.

I’ll watch to see what products they are trying, so if you see any before me, feel free to send them across.

12 thoughts on “Starbucks new brand

  1. John, it’s an interesting move and as a self-confessed expert on Starbucks (and possibly their largest customer!) I agree with you.

    Their facebook page was awash yesterday with criticism which is baffling. The colour remains, the mystery mermaid lives on and it’s not difficult to see that it is still Starbucks. And I can’t tell any difference in the coffee – which would be a disaster if that changed.

    What is really interesting about Starbucks is the apparent move away from the big corporate branding – back towards a more local (have they been listening to Cameron) offer – 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea in Seattle for example is the name of the store… not Starbucks!

    Rest assured if they introduce any new products I will let you know. This morning there was a new cake – coconut on raspberry jam thingy – but I guess that doesn’t count?


    1. A new cake may not count i’m afraid. But Where they WILL start producing products is in the general retailers.
      Perhaps you could pop into Sainsbury’s next time you’re passing and check them out?

  2. Never mind the branding, John – can someone explain to me why closing the Starbucks in Sainsbury’s at Castle Marina at 6pm instead of 7pm was a smart move?
    Right now, all the coffee chains have got one big question to answer: why isn’t there one anywhere near Castle Wharf?

  3. Are you and Tim Garratt in this together?

    Drinking strong coffee that late at night will only keep you awake, so I guess Starbucks are looking after you more holistically to allow you to sleep better.

    Seems like a good opportunity for one of the chains, but if there was that much demand, surely Starbucks wouldn’t be pulling out?

    1. It is a coffee DESERT south of Broadmarsh. Yet we’ve got all the businesses in Castle Wharf, courts staff, Gala Coral, the Inland Revenue, commuters…and NO coffee shop.
      I blame the property agents…

      1. Never mind Castle Wharf – NG2 is the priority…

        With the proposed Hotel there will be a coffee concession apparently (according to the agents) and so we will then be just fine.

        Richard will be ok when Starbucks get thrown out of Sainsbury’s and they replace it with a Sainsbury’s Greasy Spoon offer with one of those nasty Kilx machines with powdered milk and some bacon and sausages which can last all week – and repeat on you for days..

        (I have just arrived at the office having had my morning fix in case you were all wondering!)

  4. NG2? That’ll be right on my doorstep when the tram gets extended, then.
    I have two choices: make sure Sean Akins’ station plans include a Costa, or work remotely from Brown Betty’s.

  5. I agree with many of your points John, but I’m not entirely convinced that without the black, it doesn’t just become a bit insipid. Not quite sure why they couldn’t just have removed the word ‘coffee’ from the existing logo…

    My friend thinks it makes them look like a new age brand; and in a way, I agree. Maybe that’s how they still see themselves though?

    As far as product categories go, I’d like to see a coffee chain like Starbucks go into the tobacco market. Who has, so far, created cigarettes designed to go beautifully with coffee? Or is smoking now so stigmatised that it’d ruin any brand in an instant?

    The difficulty, of course, would be marketing them…but on the back of the brand recognition and an in-box coffee voucher with every pack, the word would spread.

    Just a little something I think to myself every day while Keane enjoys his morning cappuccino and smoke…

    1. What brilliant point. I had honestly not thought about tobacco. That would be so cool if they set up a chain of smoking/coffee houses, like the cafe’s of Amsterdam. It would draw in a weird mix of wino’s, students and those few enough to still brave a public smoke. (i’m not one of them any more sadly)

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