Starbucks have updated their logo again removing the reference to coffee and zooming in on the double-tailed mermaid. One of the spokesmen said that it was done as a reflection of their diversification away from being a brand that is simply about coffee: “it’s possible we’ll have other products with our name on it and no coffee in it”. In the last few years market share has been shrinking as other large brands grow and local more individual coffee shops are preferred in some cities.
Bayley believes the relative popularity of the Lada in the UK was down to two things – first, the car’s robustness and longevity; and second, the fact that owning one of these fairly drab, rudimentary vehicles from the East allowed one to wriggle free from the consumerist pressure to buy a big flash car in order to show off.
“Car ownership is all about cultural modelling and making a display, it is all about buying a vehicle that apparently says something important about your identity. The great thing about the Lada is that you could free yourself from all of that.
Interesting that Microsoft have taken the negative, slightly mocking slogan used by Apple in their “I’m a Mac” adverts and turned it into something more positive. I saw this banner advert whilst logging onto my hotmail email account (which I tend to use only for spam). Clicking on the banner takes you to a site which lets you pick what sort of Windows platform might suit you best.
A few years ago Volkswagen cars bought the Czech Skoda brand, recognised in Eastern Europe but ridiculed accross Western Europe. They sold cheap, ugly cars, made from cheap materials which break quickly. With such a bad brand reputation, surely, the best thing to do in Western Europe would be to scrap the brand nd intorduce a new one? But no, VW quickly increased the quality of Skoda cars to match VW themselves, and cleverly introduced an advertising slogan which turned the brand reputation on its head. The adverts showed people seeing the cars and not believing they were really Skodas. The tag line was “It’s a Skoda. Honest” One advert even suggested that they had put the wrong badge on the front of the car. Anyway, the perception of the brand quickly changed and they are now known for producing quality cars at more affordable prices than VW.
I wonder if the Microsoft adverts will have the same effect.
They claim that the brand has been devalued through its own success. There are too many Starbucks shops around, too many in the same city as they began to take business away from each other. Quality has slipped leaving room for competition from more exclusive chains which serve ethical quality coffee, and independents that aren’t two-a-penny. They also tend to serve better coffee.
On my trip to Portland and Seattle in the spring, I drank wonderful coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters of Portland, and Top Pot in Seattle. These independant shops were way better and felt more individual and unique than the cloned Starbucks experience. And they were generally cheaper too. In Plymouth, I tend to go to Caffe Nero, an italian style chain which is cheaper and much nicer tasting than Starbucks.
Starbucks kick-started the coffeeshop craze, but have they become victim of their own success?