Friday, January 07, 2011

The fate of Starbucks

So Starbucks is changing its branding. The words Starbucks around the “Starbucks Siren” {or mermaid thingy as I call it} will be missing and so will the heavy mugs we have come to love {so much so that we feel like nicking them every time}. The photo above depicts the ‘evolution’ of the Starbucks brand. I for one will miss the current ‘old’ logo of Starbucks though after reading serveal online articles about the re-branding and the thinking that went into this redesign, I do think that this is right move for Starbucks. Goodbye circle and Starbucks name and hello to bigger mermaid.

I don't know for certain if the Malaysian market will be affected but it will be interesting to see some changes at our local Starbucks which I have come to enjoy visiting to catch up with friends, play card games, read my magazines or to just to edit photos or surf the web with B.

Note: This will not be the first makeover the Starbucks siren has received. This is the 4th version of Starbucks' logo since the company's beginnings as a small coffee, tea and spice shop in Seattle in 1971. The first update came in 1987, taking the original bare-breasted siren in brown to a more stylized -- and modest -- version in green as the company began to expand. The image was further refined in the 1990s as the company went public and its growth soared.

After reading a couple of articles {here, here, here, here and here} on the change in rebranding, I have decided to summarize {ok… cut and paste} the articles that I have read for your reading pleasure:

Starbucks...  *$
Starbucks was cool… “It meant 'hanging out' for hours without being tutted at by a waitress. It meant off-site meetings and muffins and it meant sitting alone in a corner with a laptop Mac and looking like you had a blockbuster screenplay in your head rather than an impossible dream of ever getting a date…” and then they were not… “Then it all went to hell. As the shops proliferated, their bright, studiedly informal interiors began to look like cynical clones, the staff quietly morphed from stunning resting-between-jobs actresses into stunned looking minimum-wage droids with thousand yard stares, and everything began to smell of sour milk. What had once looked like the brightest of futures began to look like McDonald's”.

What changes are we going to see for Starbucks?

  • Starbucks is going to change its image with a raft of carefully selected authenticity cues. The centrally dictated colour palette and drear interiors will be smartened up with local artefacts, community noticeboards and possibly, whisper it low, second-hand furniture.
  • As part of a "rebranding" initiative in the US, they've opened a new site in Seattle branded '15th Ave. Coffee and Tea Inspired by Starbucks', which is an awful precedent.
  • Starbucks familiar chunky white mugs will disappear from its British stores this year as part of a major rebranding exercise that will also see the American company drop its name from its well-known logo. The big heavy mugs used in stores, which is apparently a "bit dated", will be replaced with bone china as the company responds to increasingly sophisticated coffee consumers and tough competition on the high street.
  • The most famous name in coffee will soon disappear from Starbucks' cups
  • The current ubiquitous logo -- a deep green ring emblazoned with "Starbucks Coffee," which encircles a black-and-white siren -- will now be banished from their recycled-content cups after nine years in action.
  • The revamp will make the face of the woman who appears in the logo – known as the "Starbucks siren" – bigger
  • It will be replaced by a circular image of the green and white siren, with no mention of coffee or the company.
  • "We've allowed (the siren) to come out of the circle in a way that I think gives us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee," said chief executive Howard Schultz. The new wordless logo also is better suited to the company's expansion beyond coffee into a wider array of business lines and into more international markets. The brand is now evolving to a point where the coffee association is too confining and restrictive," said John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. "Starbucks is fundamentally selling an experience, but by no means is coffee the only part of the experience. It is important that they not have a logo that is too confining."
  • Starbucks plans to go back to its roots creating more 'grungy and individual' stores to hide its corporate image. The bland colours will be banished to make way for bold colours, second hand furniture, community boards and work by local artists.
Some future plans for Starbucks

  • The rebranding was a "meaningful update" that fitted in with Starbucks' plans to increase its groceries business, which already sells branded tea and ice-cream in supermarkets
  • The company has also brought its store design in-house and will bring a series of new formats to Britain this year, including its first small "neighbourhood" store in London's Soho, which will boast a restored Georgian facade. It will also open its first "walk-through" store on Borough High Street in east London, which will have no seats and will be just 17 feet wide.
  • In every store, there will be something that is locally relevant  - 'We’re currently reviewing our approach to the design of our stores, with an amplified focus on local relevance and environmental responsibility however, these will still clearly be branded as Starbucks coffeehouses
  • Starbucks is testing a system for customers to order and pay for coffee by mobile phone. It's seeking a way for rewards card holders to earn points buying Starbucks products at grocers or other stores.
  • Starbucks is considering offering beer and wine at night in some of its cafes. Starbucks also suggested it is looking at new food business opportunities, though company officials would not disclose details.

 Remember: "Hoarding & Collecting is not a crime. It is an art!"

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