Starbucks aren’t quite themselves

starbucksWhen a brand gets too big for its boots it can always change them for loafers. That’s what the Seattle behemoth, Starbucks appears to be doing by going all bohemian.

In an apparent throwback to their origins of the 70s, customers can listen to live music and poetry and even buy alcohol. But, more surprisingly, this pilot includes ditching the name at three stores in their hometown for a more neighbourhood “community personality.”

If this is a corporate makeover then it’s a radical one that may well throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. McDonald’s modernised its restaurants recently but they didn’t dare mess with the brand name. A local focus is unquestionably sensible but with 38 years of growth in the name, are the connotations so negative that you’d want to turn your back on it?

The anti-globalisation consumer is as likely to boycott Starbucks’ 16,000 stores as they are Coke. If this is a play to engage them I suspect it might fail, rather like my three-year-old believing she’s become invisible by covering her eyes. The coffee aficionados of Seattle will be all too aware of the company’s facelift and could arguably shun it with double enthusiasm.

What do you guys think, is this retail smoke and mirrors or is it modern rebranding genius?

Photo credit: re-ality

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