Starbucks Has a New (Old) Logo! Will Customers Care?

  I have been participating in the Re-Experiencing Starbucks Project, and this had pushed me to keep a closer eye on the company and the strategy being put into play by returning CEO Howard Shultz.  I was in Starbucks the other day – doing some research – and noticed they have a new logo!  Well, it’s an old logo actually, and you can read more about the Starbucks logo transition here. 

Why the new logo?  The new logo appears to be put into play to match Shultz’s strategy of returning Starbucks to the good ol days of a never-ending focus on the customer.  The strategy is great, but I can’t say the same for changing the logo. 

Will customers care?  Is a logo really that important to customers?  I say, heck yea!  The logo is a graphical representation of the brand.  The brand is a roll-up of everything that creates the customer relationship.  More importantly, a well-executed brand is really just a short-cut to the purchase decision.   Changing the logo can alter the relationship with the customer, and can therefore short-cicrcuit that short-cut to the purchase decision.

For me, seeing that familiar green and black logo triggered a response in my body that told me the rush of caffeine was on it’s way.  I associated the logo with the sensation.  It was recognizable from afar.  I only needed to partially see the logo on a cup to get me thinking about purchasing a Starbucks beverage.  Now the changes to the Starbucks are not huge – a second or two was all it took to know it was still Starbucks, but it just didn’t have the same effect on me.  The all brown logo is just not appealing.  It’s “what brown can’t do for me.”  (P.S. – They also have a new look to their website, and yes, it’s brown)

I think it was a mistake to make the change.  Starbucks is now forcing customers to make a new association in their brain and in their psyche.  It’s not a death sentence to Starbucks by any means, I just think it’s a change that slightly confuses customers.  Really, does any company ever need to add confusion to the customer relationship?


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