Starbucks marks milestone with new logo

| by Valerie Killifer
Starbucks marks milestone with new logo

In celebration of its 40th anniversary, Starbucks has altered its iconic logo, removing the company name from the label that showcases its memorable mermaid flanked in black. Instead, the mermaid is taken out of the cup’s dark circle and is featured in a background of green.

The new logo is expected to rollout in March and has already been met with both jeers and praise from consumers.

On the company’s website, the majority of reader comments about the logo change are primarily negative. One response, posted by wangmi, reads:

“Unfortunately, I do not agree with the new logo. It's almost like the scenerio where GAP changed their corporate logo look, and the backlash against the design made management rethink. Although, I love Starbucks, the new logo isn't for me. It feels like the Siren is lonely...”

Another, posted by heramb22, reads:

“email me if someone starts a facebook page against this new logo and I'll definitely become a fan of it.”

For company executives, however, the new logo is reflective of a new year; one without the economic shackles and restraints that have plagued the company for the past several years.

In an open letter to readers, CEO Howard Schultz said the Siren’s update is small but meaningful, and is intended to further embrace the company’s heritage.

Throughout the last four decades, the Siren has been there through it all. And now, we’ve given her a small but meaningful update to ensure that the Starbucks brand continues to embrace our heritage in ways that are true to our core values and that also ensure we remain relevant and poised for future growth,” he said. …

“You’ll begin to see our evolution starting this spring. And there will be much more to come, as we celebrate our 40thanniversary 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.”

The Siren came to be part of the Starbucks brand in 1971. At the time, the company was early in its inception and was looking for a way to depict Seattle’s seaport roots.

According to an article on the company’s website, the Siren selected was a 16th century Norse woodcut of a twin-tailed mermaid. The logo was designed around her and she quickly became synonymous with the Starbucks brand.

“Our new evolution liberates the Siren from the outer ring, making her the true, welcoming face of Starbucks,” writes company senior writer Steve M. “For people all over the globe, she is a signal of the world’s finest coffee – and much more. She stands unbound, sharing our stories, inviting all of us in to explore, to find something new and to connect with each other. And as always, she is urging all of us forward to the next thing. After all, who can resist her?”

News of the logo change also has spread throughout the Twittersphere as news outlets and other have raced to discuss and link to the new design. Comments there have been both positive and negative, with some accusing the chain of rehashing the Gap logo fiasco in October.

In early October, Gap clothier changed its iconic blue-box logo encasing the word "GAP," changing it instead to a small box placed above the word.

The move was so poorly received by consumers that Gap quickly backpedaled and reverted to its old logo a week later.

Starbucks executives have indicated no such digression will take place for the coffee chain. Spokeswoman Deb Trevino told CNNMoney that the company expected discussion in regard to the change, but that company leaders were committed to the Siren's evolution.

"We made the change to support our strategic and business decisions," said Trevino.

So, what's your take? Love it, hate it or neutral?


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Coffee / Specialty Beverages, Food & Beverage, Packaging


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