Apparently they’re making the change for two reasons: to signify that the company is about to new enter a new era, and to remind people that the company is about more than just coffee.
Personally, I think it’s a minor mistake to lose the work “Coffee”, and a huge mistake to lose the word “Starbucks”.
Starbucks is–and, I think, will always be–known primarily as a purveyor of fine coffee. Just because they also sell tea, soft drinks, sandwiches, pastries and CDs is no reason they need to go all anal on us from a labeling standpoint. And the day they reduce their passion for grinding, brewing and serving the world’s–or at least America’s–best coffee is the day to short the stock.
Removing their brand name from their logo defies all logic. A few years ago I was in Japan and saw a knockoff coffee chain that had a Starbucks-like logo–not to mention surprisingly good coffee. Without the Starbucks name, the logo will be even easier to knock off.
I also question whether the mermaid (technically, a siren) is as recognizable a symbol of the Starbucks brand as the company’s marketers seem to think it is. Personally, I’ve never really felt that the siren was all that great of an icon anyway. I know it’s supposed to link to the seafaring heritage of Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle, but nothing else in their marketing arsenal attempts to leverage that heritage, and I suspect that it contributes very little to their brand equity.
In other words, I would have scuttled the siren and kept the brand name.
Several years ago I heard a long-time Starbucks exec say, “We’re not in the coffee business serving people; we’re in the people business serving coffee.” That was, and is, a great line. It defines the way I feel about Starbucks as a loyal customer.
And it sounds a helluva lot better than, “We’re in the people business serving coffee, tea, soft drinks, sandwiches, pastries and CDs.”