Everyone is talking about Starbucks ditching their long time logo in favor of a new design. I’ve actually read self proclaimed “marketing experts” worry that customers won’t be able to find their beloved Starbucks due to the logo change.
The Starbucks logo means nothing without a solid business behind it.
Your company’s “brand” is not created by your logo – it’s crafted from consumer experience with your business. Your logo is just the “hook” where consumers mentally “hang” their feelings about doing business with you.
Every day as you operate your business, you’re creating your “brand” in the mind of consumers. Just like a garment is composed of dozens of invididual elements – so is your company’s brand. Just as many individual elements come together to create a garment, so too do many individual elements come together create your “brand.” From the physical attributes of the products to the attitude and demeanor of your employees – your “brand” is a complex amalgamation of collective consumer experiences.
Your logo is simply the “hook” where consumers mentally hang that complex amalgamation of collective consumer experiences.
If the complex amalgamation of collective consumer experiences begins to shift -changing the “hook” upon which the garment hangs is not going to change the composition of the garment.
As Starbuck executives and PR wonks wax rhapsodic about how the 16th Century woodcut Norse siren has been “liberated” from the words “Starbucks” and “coffee” which once imprisoned her – they seem to be forgetting the secret to their early success. They seem to be intentionally ignoring the fact that the logo is the hook – not the garment.
The success of Starbucks was not due to the logo. It wasn’t the colors – it wasn’t the symbol of the two tailed mermaid- it wasn’t the font chosen for the words. While all of those elements come together to create the visual image which represents Starbucks – those individual elements are not the REASON Starbucks enjoyed great success in the late 20th Century.
The combination of elements which make up the Starbucks logo can only convey the Starbucks experienced by consumers and nothing more.
When Starbucks closed all their stores in 2008 to “retrain” their staff on the art of not only creating fine coffee – but also the art of creating an exceptional consumer experience – it was a sign that the “brand” hanging from the Starbucks logo had become dirty, ratty and torn.
Now Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz is announcing that the new logo is going to allow Starbucks to move beyond coffee – as if focusing upon serving great coffee is the root of Starbucks problems.
Starbucks has a huge problem which was only partially addressed by the closing of nearly 600 “under performing” stores. The reason those stores were “under performing” was not because people who lived near those stores had quit drinking coffee. Indeed – you can get “gourmet” coffee almost anywhere these days – even in the drive-thru at McDonald’s to wash down your $1 cheeseburger for heavens sake! No – those under performing stores were under performing because they had lost sight of how to create the original Starbucks experience.
The Starbucks’ brand is more than a logo – more than the unique “language” used to order product – more than the contents of each cup of coffee served. The key to Starbucks early success was the “atmosphere” – a decidedly psychosocial element which played a huge role in establishing the Starbucks “brand”. The fact that the company is focusing upon the state of the hook upon which that brand hangs is disturbing to say the least.