photo © 2008 David Goehring | more info (via: Wylio)Starbucks has just introduced a new logo. They are trying to expand their branding to consumer packaged goods instead of just coffee. The words “Starbucks Coffee” have been removed, the mermaid image enlarged and the background color is brighter.
As I was thinking about the logo change, I recalled a recent post from Dennis Salvatier an excellent graphic artist, illustrator and blogger. His blog, The Tanoshiboy Chronicles recently talked about logos. The post was called 5 Steps to the Birth of a Logo. In it he laid out some definitions and examples to consider.
“Logo: Identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.
Think of the Nike swoosh, McDonald’s golden arches or the Apple icon.
Identity: The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
Examples would be your business card, letterhead, envelope and, of course, your website.
Brand: The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
Think about what Apple has instilled in its consumers through their marketing and advertising efforts and that will give you a clue as to how consumers can have an emotional tie with a brand. Those long lines for the iPhone 4 aren’t for nothing.”
Keeper of the Flame
Howard Schultz, the keeper of the Starbucks image, architect of its huge growth and its CEO recently told the Wall Street Journal, “Even though we have been and always will be a coffee company and retailer, it’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it.”
Logo Success or Failure?
The current movement to allow the logo to represent more than what it is does not always work out as well as certain companies intended. Two examples:
Gap, Inc. recently unveiled a new logo to scathing feedback. One week later they reverted back to the prior logo.
Tropicana Orange Juice maker Pepsico altered the packaging and especially its logo in early 2009. Again, the feedback was loud and strong. The feedback effectively forced Pepsico to revert back to Tropicana’s prior logo as well.
Being the keeper of the company’s logo, identity and brand is like being responsible for the soul of the company. Product Managers and company owners should think two or three or four times before making changes that can have a negative reception in the marketplace.
That is it from logo central. Back to you. Please comment below.
1. What is your reaction to the new Starbucks logo?
2. Can the new logo really can stretch the definition of what the public thinks about Starbucks?
3. What are your experiences with changing a logo, identity or brand?