Thursday, January 6, 2011

Another (Yawn) new logo

Now it's Starbucks turn to face the critics.

They have made the strategic decision that in order for their brand to move seamlessly into all the other categories they have their eyes on, to remove the word coffee from their logo.

First off, let me state for the record that I don't hate the logo. I'm sure designers everywhere will weigh in with their opinions about losing the brand name from the mark, how removing the outer ring takes the focal point away from the shape and so on.

What Starbucks have done is taken their signature graphic element and made it the centerpiece of their visual communications. Using the mermaid and maintaining the green color honor their heritage and keep an important part of the brand story alive.

My problem is with their reasoning for changing the logo in the first place. Howard Schultz wants the company to "Think beyond coffee."

Anyone else hear alarm bells going off.

It's not that they can't offer products that stretch their current offering. They can. It's just that they have to be clear about the strategic pillars upon which those new products will be created. No doubt they've thought this through and have very smart people working on the new products with a strategic roadmap for stretching the brand, but still I've seen this movie before (Sears, Polaroid, Schwinn) and it doesn't have a happy ending.

One bit of advice as they embark on this endeavor: just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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