There has been quite a bit of buzz around Starbucks today. First, Bloomberg offers an opinion on the new partnership between Kraft and Starbucks. A few hours later, Starbucks unveils their 4th logo in the 40 year history, sans “Starbucks.”
Most companies could only dream of such buzz, but leave it to Starbucks to reign supreme.
Let’s look at the Starbucks-Kraft partnership. Bloomberg reports that this partnership could cost Starbucks in grocery retail as home-brewing is becoming popular among coffee elite. If you didn’t receive or purchase a Keurig in 2010, chances are someone you know did, or it has been installed at an office near you. The argument made by Bloomberg is that Kraft’s home-brew system ails in sales, which could have a detrimental effect on sales as Newman’s Own, The Donut Shop, and other home-brew ready coffee cups are penetrating the market.
My opinion? Meh.
It’s Starbucks, already. They are way ahead of home-brew cups. Anyways, if you are a home-brew user, you can purchase a reusable cup compatible with your machine and use any coffee that you like – you don’t have to purchase the ready made plastic cups of coffee. Plus, you’ll help the environment through eliminating the use of prepackaged cups and the shipping footprint while saving a few bucks on the overpriced prepackaged cups.
Oh, I can’t forget about instant coffee. Coffee snobs around the United States gasped as Starbucks entered the instant coffee market early last year. Starbucks trotted forward, determined to make a splash in this space dominated by Maxwell coffee, another supermarket staple. Many saw this as a huge gamble for the mega-brand, but it has actually fared well for Starbucks. They now offer 3 different types of instant coffee and are available both in Starbucks stores and grocery stores. Smart. The decision to do so, supposedly, was upon realizing a drop in retail stores sales as more folks opted to brew at home, Starbucks introduced what they consider a price-conscious package. I still think it’s overpriced, given Maxwell is just as good and is about $2 less for a pack of 8.
Oh yeah, Maxwell is part of the Kraft brand network…. Hmmm.
Coca-cola, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew have all gone through major rebranding of their logos. One thing in common though – none of them dropped the name on the logo. This leaves many, including me, wondering why Starbucks would even consider dropping the “Starbucks” name from the logo.
Since the original Starbucks opened in the 70s (Which I highly recommend visiting if you are ever in Seattle), the Starbucks logo has always had a round-shaped siren. It started as brown and white, then later evolved to include green. (I’d love to see the market research on choosing the color green…) Now, facing new market entries and attempting to get away from the snobby Starbucks stigma, the beverage giant has decided to drop the circle around the siren touting “Starbucks.”
After the initial shock wore off within a matter of seconds, I thought to myself, “Genius!” Only if they change the color from green to something else. The green circle, regardless of what’s in the center, is identified worldwide as a Starbucks beverage. Be honest – how many of you knew there was a siren in the middle of the green circle? You probably knew there was something there, but the green circle is what has been ingrained in your brain. Forever.
Is it a huge leap for Starbucks and diminishing the coffee-snob reputation? No.
I think the price point of their products would have a bigger impact of reducing a premium brand reputation, because let’s be honest – Starbucks isn’t the cheapest cup in town and it’s not the only one with free WiFi and cushy leather seats, and baristas that speak a language I will never understand – hence why I continue to order a Medium Latte with Skim Milk and Sugar Free Vanilla.
I’m not sure how much of an impact the new logo is going to have on the non-Starbucks products and services. I still think the logo is too recognizable to fully separate Starbucks retail coffee shops from Starbucks-owned Tazo tea .. and whatever else Starbucks has cooking. I suppose time will tell.
And just think, in about 4 weeks, we will all have forgotten about this silly little Starbucks news.. we’ll be talking about the funniest Superbowl commercial, surly to stir the pot yet again!
For the record, I prefer tea. Twinnings Lady Gray Tea, specifically.
And I love Dunkin Donuts. I don’t need a degree in coffee ordering to order, either.