The fanfare and bluster around company rebrandings really gets my heckles up sometimes. Take the new Starbucks logo. It’s pretty nice, but not exactly up to this love-in:
The new logo expresses what Starbucks represents to our partners and customers.
While I appreciate the power of branding, I don’t think a green siren in a crown expresses what Starbucks itself represents, instead, inversely, the logo recognisably represents Starbucks—-the Starbucks coffee shops are what “Starbucks” represents to their partners and customers, surely? Reducing this to a logo short sells their influence in making Starbucks as popular as it is.
The logo acts as a (siren) call to passers by that there is a coffee shop they like nearby. It does not say to people who’ve never heard of Starbucks, “hey, we’ve got great coffee, a snug atmosphere and sound core values”. It’s just impossible to say the amount laid upon this graphic’s shoulders in such a simple graphic.
A logo can help portray, along with a whole set of other messaging, a brand’s desired representation in the customer’s mind, but I hope it’s the products themselves which represent best what customers think of when they think of a given company.
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.
Argh! A logo doth not maketh a relevant company, nor one “true to its core values”! While removing the “Starbucks Coffee” does allow them to branch out into other products, it’s the products themselves which will keep the company growing.
The world seems to have forgotten that the products make the brand, not the brand which sells the product. HP are prime examples of this with their “The Computer is Personal Again” campaign, in that they seem to have forgotten to make their computers any more personal. It was all dreamed up in the head of a marketeer without reference to the products. It’s crap like this that sells marketing short.
Marketing should be about finding customers who need your product, not making up things which make a product look good but result in ultimately disappointed customers who’ve bought on the dream but have found the reality doesn’t live up to their inflated expectations.
When you can’t sell a product by talking about the product, instead resorting to clever tricks, almost-lies and scare-tactics, then your product has failed.