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In January I posted information about Starbucks rebranding effort, set to launch with the celebration of their 40th anniversary. The campaign is now in full swing…the in-store effort began this week. This is why I love Starbucks:
If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I’m a loyal customer of Starbucks. So I paid particular attention to their announcement yesterday that they will mark their 40th anniversary in March with a new version of their logo. CEO Howard Schultz explains the evolution of the design this way:
This new evolution of the logo does two things that are very important: It embraces and respects our heritage, and at the same time evolves us to a point where we feel it’s more suitable for the future… The new interpretation of the logo, at its core, is the exact same essence of the Starbucks experience. And that is the love we have for our coffee, the relationship we have with our partners, and the connection we build with our customers.
This reinvention of the logo reminds us that the image most often referred to as a mermaid, is actually linked by Starbucks to the mythological siren – the seductive creature that lured sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of an island. Essentially Starbucks is saying that the updated logo continues to express the elements of their brand:
- a unique retail experience that creates a Third Place for our customers between their homes and places of work
- a carefully crafted offering of the finest, high-quality coffees from around the world
- the emotional connection that our partners make daily with our customers.
So while there has been some initial pushback by some Starbucks fans, I (for one) think they’ve done a fine job linking the visual element of their identity with their brand promise…not only for their external customers, but for their internal customers…their employees. As a senior writer at Starbucks notes on their webpage “We all needed to really, deeply understand for ourselves who she (the siren) is.”
Howard Schultz understands that companies must evolve to stay relevant – and brands are communicated visually, verbally and experientially. Starbucks is undertaking this change at a time when many consumers, still reeling from the impact of the recession, are longing for the familiar… so their is bound to be criticism. We all remember what Gap went through with their attempt to refresh their logo. Starbucks, on the other hand, has a strong track record with brand communications. Pay close attention to how they navigate customer feedback and manage customer expectations.
I look forward to the next few months. See there…I guess the siren song has lured me in…again!
As I wrap up business for the holiday, I thought I’d share a quick link to MediaPost’s analysis of the worst marketing nightmares of 2010. Their story points to the BIG mistakes — the ones that can’t be covered up with apologies and media buys — like the Gap’s rebranding decision. YIKES. Thankfully they retreated from this logo quickly and kept their old logo, and learned that their customers actually care!
What can we learn from these blunders? The article essential points to how the agencies responsible for these marketing mishaps were nowhere to be found when trouble hit…and the client was left standing alone. Perhaps that is the thing to keep in mind in 2011…ultimately, you are your own brand champion. If a creative team offers something that doesn’t seem to fit, run – do not walk – to the nearest exit!
That’s it for now. Have a great holiday. I’ll be back on 1/3/2011!