January 6, 2011 | By: Marion Marketing

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Starbucks’ New and Improved Logo Design?

Starbucks unveiled a new logo design (seen left) for 2011, introducing the masses to not only the new emblem, but hopefully an improved brand.

The logic behind the change comes from the coffee giant no longer feeling the need to “reinforce its name at every turn.” Also, dropping the “Starbucks Coffee” off the logo, supports their expansion into a wider product breadth (i.e. tea, store-bought brands, music, etc.) and international markets.  Furthermore, after suffering a dismal two years, Starbucks felt they could use a minor face lift.

…But as we all know, not everyone looks glamorous after a few nips and tucks.

While the intent sounds good, a few of us folks at MARION aren’t thrilled about the change. The redesign looks incomplete and more like a factory-flub than regeneration. That’s not to say that the updated logo won’t work. After all, tossing away their original 1970s logo obviously did them well. Now, I ask myself, and all of you reading this, why do some companies prosper with new logos or logo redesign and others just seem to peeve us?

Companies such as Apple®, Nike, BMW, Walmart, Tide, GE, and even Google survived victoriously after “The Change.” However, Gap, New Coke and Tropicana did not share the same fate. Perhaps they didn’t give proper consideration of their target audience and current positioning.

Consider in which of these categories you fall before launching a new logo:

You Like Me, You Really Like Me – Brand loyalty is a real phenomenon. We are as passionate about our favorite brands as Tom Cruise was about Katie Holmes on Oprah. I jump on my couch every time I see that Old Spice guy.

Neglecting to realize this devotion seemed to be the faux pas of Gap, New Coke, and Tropicana. I remember the cute commercials with some cute kid, cutely sticking a straw in an range. It made me do the same thing…which isn’t really effective by the way…I also remember the “fall into the Gap” musical commercials ending with a shot of the familiar logo. And Coca-Cola is ALWAYS Coca-Cola, who really expects them to change?

If you have solidified your position in the market and your audience has positive feelings about your brand, a new design isn’t always the remedy to avoid decline. You can change your brand positioning without changing your look.

The Forgotten – As is the case with Apple, who was once eclipsed by Microsoft, they debuted a sleeker, high-tech apple, replacing the previous rainbow colored apple, with an awesome new product to boot. In turn, Apple actually gained new, younger brand loyalty that didn’t exist prior.

O, you changed your hair? – Some companies don’t feel the effects of logo redesign because no one even notices the change. I just realized, or recalled, that Google, GE, Wal-Mart, Tide and BMW all had minutely different logos than their current design. Change some color here, take out a hyphen there, add a new border and, presto – you achieve a new look without making anyone uncomfortable. And somehow, it’s still refreshing. Heck, even the MARION logo has changed a time or two.  

We Kept the Best Part– Nike dropped their brand name from their logo, just as Starbucks decided to do, leaving the infamous “Nike Swoosh.” Nonetheless, this doesn’t look nearly as awkward to me as Starbuck’s logo. This is because the most recognizable part of that design (for me) was actually not the name itself, but the swoosh. However, although the siren-mermaid-girl-thing is recognizable, I now realize that what stood out was the part of the design they dropped. That’s what I noticed popping up everywhere. I never paid that much attention to the pseudo-complex graphic. Now I’m forced to and I just don’t know if I like that.

In summary, changing your logo is a big decision that can completely change how your company is perceived, so act cautiously.

I wish all the best to Starbucks.

If you feel it’s time to refresh your logo as well as branding, start by developing a brand positioning statement . After, MARION can also give your logo design in Houston the old nip/tuck.

About Marion Marketing

MARION is a full-service marketing agency. We partner with customers to either supplement their existing marketing department or serve as their full outsourced marketing department. Our areas of expertise include branding and graphic design, online marketing and traditional marketing.

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