This is a logo we’re all familiar with. But we may not all know what it is.
Starbucks is named after the first mate character in Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” The logo is also inspired by the sea, featuring a twin-tailed siren from Greek mythology. When Starbucks was founded in the 1971, the mermaid was selected as a nod to the seafaring nature of the coffee business.
Early this year, Starbucks updated its logo. Which retains the signature figure of the sea-nymph, in its trademark green, but has dropped the words “Starbucks” and “Coffee,” a move that signalizes a shift in the company’s business policies.
The world’s best known coffeehouse chain (which also sells sandwiches and baked good) wants to broaden the brand, and to be known for more than just coffee. It could also be synchronous with its plans to expand in China and enter the Indian market. With no verbiage on the new logo, it avoids the hassle of translating its name into the languages of those countries as well as other future markets.
The new logo is “rounder,” opines a marketing professor at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research has shown that such while symbols were favored by “collectivist cultures,” including many in Asia, angular logos were more popular in individualistic societies, such as the U.S.
Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein’s take is that “retaining the green color for the logo was critical.”
You can show that color, and people will recognize it as Starbucks. That color is really important to them. In a similar way, Apple has taken the most benign color, white, and owned it.
The two likely pitfalls of a logo revamp, however, are brand dilution, and an inability on the part of consumers to identify with a brand.
Jonah Berger, marketing professor at Wharton puts it this way: “But the danger is they become so watered down that the brand becomes known for nothing.”