When the largest coffee company in the world, with brand presence in more than 50 countries, announces its logo redesign, the event cannot pass unnoticed.
On January 5th Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chairman and CEO wrote:
“You’ll begin to see our evolution starting this Spring, and there will be much more to come, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary by honoring the millions of customers and thousands of partners who’ve made Starbucks such a welcoming presence around the world. We think you’ll like what you see.”
Rebranding does not guarantee instant success. Tropicana and Pepsi “failures” are still fresh in our memory, and are good examples of how good strategy and good design could fail in the era of Social Networking. Most consumers have access to the internet, and can voice an opinion about any event, regardless of his or her area of expertise.
While implementing changes, you cannot please everyone, and there are already several negative comments on the Starbucks site regarding the new look. Nonetheless, in my opinion, the way Starbucks has handled it’s rebranding is a great example of strategic design in action. Doing so “little” with the possibility to achieve so much, requires bold leadership and thoughtful strategy.
Starbucks has a unique opportunity to resolve the company’s recent domestic problems. It also has the chance to “save face” in Asia, where the company had difficulties trying to expand its brand equity in Japan, China and India. These are markets where every global company mast have at least some brand presence.
Rebranding is a great opportunity to “start fresh”, attract a lot of attention, and reenergize employees and loyal customers around powerful brands. Great start, Starbucks, and good luck moving forward.