Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What up, Starbuck?

If you look closely at the picture you will see a revised, more retro logo. They are testing the look in San Diego. Nevermind, that some folks are making a fuss of the bare-breasted maiden, which I think is kind of silly considering the world we live in; what bothers me is the messing with one of the most recognizable logos in the world. Coke, Pepsi, McDonalds, and somewhere up there near them is Starbucks. Plus, they changed the color from green to brown. I wonder about the "corporate boys" sometimes. Who gets these ideas? Imagine UPS changing their colors to Green or IBM to red?

The Starbucks growth story is one of the late 20th century's eight wonders of the world. Along with Google and Apple recently, they kind of represent business in a post-50's world. But in my view, every decision they are making right now is bad, including the Pike Valley Blend, introduced with much celebrity, but which is just not very good.

No company can continue to grow as Starbucks has. Something always comes along to change the dynamic that fed the growth -- a bad economy, a tired concept, or competition catching up -- and all of these are hurting Starbucks.

Will they come back? I think so, China Starbucks is booming at a 20% clip, but the first step in the USA is plain and simple, get the coffee right again.


Final personal comment: the wife and daughter are, for the first time in 10 years, choosing to go to McDonalds for coffee. It tastes good, it's cheaper and the grandkids can play in he playground. They are boycotting the absence of Sumatra at Starbucks.


Kevin said...

I happen to love pike place roast. buy i do miss the sumatra!

Francis Shivone said...

I know some people do like the new Pike roast. I have to say I much prefer the Sumatra.

Lizzie said...

I must have visual confirmation of the switch to McDonald's. I'm amazed that the two of them would do it.
Well, new life new priorities....

This is probably why I never got into the Starbucks thing. Above all I am cheap ;)

Francis Shivone said...

Liz -- Now that you mention it, I have never seen this either. Hmmmm. See if you can get a picture. Thanks.

scott d said...

f*irst of all its pike place roast named after the original store in seattle's famous market, not pike valley.
*secondly, sumatra is still being served on a rotating basis and was never an everyday offering anyway. It is still offered as a roasted coffee for home use.
*thirdly, pike place roast has been very popular with the people who like their coffee a tad milder and smoother. sumatra is a very heavy, bold coffee and therefore the new roast wouldnt likely be ideal for those that are sumatra fans.
*Lastly, evrything I have heard leads to the green logo coming back soon and staying as the permanent logo. I prefer it for sure, for the reasons you stated about brand building.

Francis Shivone said...

Scott -- First of all, I know what it's name is.

Second -- the places I go to had Sumatra about 90% of the time.

Third -- Granted. I never said some folks wouldn't prefer it, but they are wrong and the bigger issue is that the commitment to a hot cup of fresh coffee is lower today in the Starbucks stores than ever. Why that is I do not know. Besides, why roll out a "new Coke" when the company is a major realignment. It's a sign or symptom of uncertainty and a search for something that will stick with the public.

Fourth -- No sh^%!

Kevin said...

Somebody must be reading this blog because today in Arlington, at the Starbucks on Cooper Street just south of UT-Arlington, they are brewing Sumatra (and Pike Place)

Sarah said...

the brown logo is the original logo...I went to Seattle a couple of months back and it was the logo used in the original store in pike's place. I think it's cool!

Francis Shivone said...

Sarah -- thank you for that piece of information. I knew of the Pike Place originations but not that that was the original logo. That is interesting and more illuminating as to why they are testing it out. Maybe it's a "return to our origins thing." Thanks.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

For what it's worth (not much) I prefer Starbucks' Espresso to anyone else's Espresso.

I prefer anyone else's coffee to Starbucks'.

Will have to try the Pike Roast.

Francis Shivone said...

Whited -- I have been a huge fan of Starbucks. As a profitable company and for their coffee. Adding 1500 stores a year for years is serious stuff. Now some of this is a matter of taste, but the fact that they are struggling and at the same time reaching for some product to pull them back, I think, is a mistake. Thanks for the comment.