The Starbucks franchise over the last 20 years has risen to become one of the premier consumer brands in the world ranking up there with even the infamous Apple and (Just Do it) Nike. As the duo-tone green and black round logo which sports the iconic mermaid (siren) encircled with the words “Starbucks Coffee” have nearly the same symbolism as the Golden Arches does for the venerable McDonald’s, however even with all this the Seattle based coffee monger has decided it’s time for a change. A change one has to ask themselves, why as life is good for the coffee based crack giant of the northwest.
As after pulling back from the edge just a few years ago as in 2008 former CEO Howard Schultz retook the top seat after a hiatus of 8 years and closing some 800 stores and refocusing on their core product of “Coffee”. After all of this bloodletting the firm regained its ground (no coffee pun intended) pulling itself from the deep red back to a cozy comfortable color of a rich black Sumatra for its bottom line. So we have to ask ourselves “why walk away again from your core business”, why drop the main thing which defines “who” and “what” you are. As the “logo” is the badge for which people willingly pay a premium for even though its only bits of paper and ink pressed together.
Don’t get me wrong as change is good, “change” is also needed to drive the capitalistic cycle as it fills newspapers, periodicals and even blogs (like this one). Then there is the retooling cost for “dies” for printing and ink change up. All good stuff when it comes to keeping the engine of capitalism humming along. However to do something for the sake of solely doing it is also not good as while “all quests must focus on the journey and not the destination”, as all journeys must have a destination in order for it to be a “journey”. Both in life and business people forget this rule as let’s take a military example as if you noticed the goal is typically to secure some geographical point such as a town, city or even hill with the objective of gaining either a tactical or strategic advantage. However it’s during the “journey” which the real work is done, the true challenges are fought and the gritty needs must be met.
Along the lines of the “journey” theme, it’s surprising to see that Starbucks has not jumped on the “Sustainability” bandwagon for extra marketing kick if you will. As concept of sustainability is the capacity to endure within an ecosystem, the word describes how “systems” remain diverse and productive over time. While long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests provide us with practical examples of “sustainable” biological systems. In the human arena, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being by joining the triad of environmental, economic, and social dimensions. As its clear there will be commercial savings with a logo change as multicolor printing is twice as costly for discussions purposes because you have to print the first color then second. So it’s clear a change to a monochromatic color scheme will save energy, and ink (waste) adding to the “Sustainability Footprint” of the company.
However what both interests me and worries me is the loss of the words, while there might be a bit of a tugging on the heart strings as I’ve enjoyed this “logo” since 1992, adorning my favorite hot beverage (Americano with an extra shot). However emotions aren’t it either, have you guessed it yet as this is a pop quiz? Ok, the words are in English and hey we are out of both street corners to place shops on, and urinal capacity to handle the result here in the US. Therefore so to see additional growth, the world needs to become Starbucks oyster and guess what, in Beijing the word “Starbucks” pretty much looks like “$%#@^&*$%@”. However a picture is worth a thousand words. Something to think about…