What to learn from Starbucks’ new logo

Wow what a logo!

As the author of The Stabucks Experience I have had many people ask about the NEW STARBUCKS LOGO!

The principle questions I’ve fielded since the announcement earlier this week are variations of the following:

1) Why replace an iconic logo?

2) Will the new logo “stick”?

3) When should I change my logo (if ever)?

I’ll answer the first question in today’s blog and save the others for future installments.

The Starbucks logo that most people identify with the brand is the 3rd in the companies 40-year history and came into play in 1992

It was preceded by a 1987 and 1971 version

The current logo happens to be one of the most internationally recognizable icons so why mess with success?

The answer is three-fold for:

experience imagery,

brand extension and

image relevance.

While I would never bet against Howard Schultz at Starbucks, I can’t quite see the experience imagery he is seeking in the new logo and almost always prefer a brand name to be attached to a logo.  However, as is the case with the Nike swoosh, I can appreciate how the new Starbucks logo could broaden the products powerful mark to other forms of merchandise.

As for image relevance, the senior creative manager at Starbucks describes the logo change as wanting to maintain iconic features while removing the Siren from her ring.

I work with creatives in the agency that Starbucks partnered with and applaud their ability to make the image more edgy and relevant.

But how does this relate to you?  Here are a few questions to ponder…

How much breadth does your brand’s visual imagery offer for future brand extension?

Could your imagery ever stand-alone without word representation of your brand?

How edgy, energized, and relevant are the images associated with your brand?

No doubt about it Starbucks’ future logo is bold – as is the decision to change it.  However, given the ubiquity of the brand I suspect it will reap the benefits of the change without losing brand recognizability.


Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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