While there has been an exponential growth over the last ten years in the number of multinational coffee companies, Starbucks has managed to remain one of the world leaders within the industry. Much of this is due to the branding techniques that have been used and developed since the company was first established. The following project is a continuation of this tradition which focuses on brand development within the Starbucks organization. The suggestions made in relation to Starbucks brand development will focus on the values the company should project as well as the core message (or ideology) of the company in relation to selling propositions.
The first important aspect to consider in brand development of a well known large multinational company such as the Starbucks franchise is that the company, service and products are well known throughout the population. Thus, any rebranding needs to coincide with the already established logo and style of the companies branding. Indeed, the logo for the company; that of a mythical Greek Siren, which can be traced back to the desire to represent the companies Seattle origins in 1971 where the city had a thriving fishing and boating industry. The rebranding of Starbucks would thus have to retain the family Siren logo due to both the history and familiarity of the design.
One of the core messages of Starbucks has long adhered to is the strong emphasis on ethical practice; from sourcing its coffee beans and products, its local community orientated perspective and the concern it has for environmental ethics (Starbucks). While the company has done a lot to promote its ethical practices, a rebranding of the company could go further in reemphasizing the commitment the company has towards ethics. Specifically, the company could invest further in innovative packaging which maximizes recycled materials as well as develop innovative and unique (and protected) designs in terms of packaging to reduce the amount of material needed. Thus, the recommendations of this project it to place Starbucks ethical standards at the heart of its rebranding in all aspects; the theme would be the Starbucks as the most ethical coffee company. In addition, it would be advantageous to continue this ethical theme throughout the rebranding of Starbucks with a greater onus on the work the company is doing in community. This should focus on the local community where each store is located as well as the often impoverished communities where Starbucks sources it produce. In this way, Starbucks would be able to provide both the local contributions to the local communities where the stores are located as well as provide information on the company’s global contribution to building stronger and fairer communities. Much of this would rely on table talkers and perhaps some form of ‘local’ one page newsletter, informing customers how their particular area and community is benefitting from their local Starbucks coffee house. Thus the local and international emphasis would provide customers with a guilt free coffee in a friendly environment.
Not only would the rebranding of Starbucks in terms of the local community show some of the positive impacts the company is involved with, it could also be used to introduce and name some of the local workers within the community. This would not only emphasis the fact that Starbucks as a company is benefiting the local community, but also would provide a human face that customers could identify; removing the stigma of the ‘faceless’ corporation which most multinational companies face.
Furthermore, a rebranding of Starbuck’s which placed a high emphasis on ethical and green issues resonates with the demographic of Starbucks customers who are typically urbanites from a professional background who are concerned with policies to do with social welfare on a local and global scale (O’Farrell). Thus, the core message would be related to the broad scope of ethical practices and community orientated projects the Starbucks as a company is involved with. Practically and logistically this rebranding would need to address each part of the company’s image, from the disposable containers the company deals with to the information about the company provided to the public. The specific catchphrase that could accompany this could be ‘A better way’ or ‘a fairer coffee’, and would need to be labeled on each and every product throughout the company. Furthermore, a rebranding phase would need to be introduced globally which would entail a period of releasing information about the strengthening of the company’s direction towards ethical practices cumulating in a launch date.
In conclusion the rebranding of Starbuck’s should place a high emphasis on its ethical practices; indeed, this should be the core aspect on which rebranding takes place. Not only does this resonate with the typical demographic of customers Starbucks caters for, but could go further than its competitors by controlling the ethical and green ground. Indeed, while most companies are ‘green’ insofar as they promote policies such as recycling and ethical practices when it comes to suppliers, Starbuck’s could be the company that takes over this particular aspect of the market. Not only is such a policy politically trendy at present, but it also fits in line with the vast demographic majority of Starbucks customers. Indeed, if such a rebranding was successfully instigated it could increase Starbucks market share in the coffee industry through tempting away customers from the other large coffee multinational companies.
- O’Farrell, Renee. Who Is Starbucks’ Target Audience? Demand Media http://smallbusiness.chron.com/
- Starbucks, “Being a Responsible Company”