Starbucks says TATA to old logo; next chapter Or the New GAP?

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Starbucks

After 4 decades, Starbucks has now taken a brave move to re-design their logo, which of course the entire North America is well aware of. The logo not just brought on mass anger, but also a new hope for Howard Schultz, CEO, calling it as “Starbuck’s next chapter”. The loyal customer base seems to have quite a hard time getting used to this make over; however, most people fail to realize the decision has been made and you just have to go along with it.  Not every brand dares to make such a change, especially when it is a house hold name.  The logo change reminds everyone of every brand’s nightmare – The GAP logo disaster. Although, GAP’s logo was a disaster, it still re-established itself firmly in the market attributed to their Genius marketing heads.

GAP logo

GAP logo

GAP introduced the new logo on the Social Network, the media of course, not the movie.  They obtained feedback from the Social Media prior to finalizing the logo, and reacted positively to the negative feedback, going back to the original logo. This helped the Company convince its loyal customer base that they were listening carefully and thereby earned the trust. The disaster proved to be a blessing in disguise.

On the other hand, Howard Schultz does not seem to be in the mood to do that, undoubtedly, they have earned that right.  Many Analysts agree that this change in their brand identity will have a much better and positive impact on the Company’s image and more so now, when they are planning to go Global. The coffee house giant is now seeking to establish a presence in the Indian market (like other US businesses) in not just the Coffee sector but a lot more. Starbucks just signed a MOU with India’s Tata Group, a conglomerate consistently proliferating  from the auto industry to consultancy. Tata Coffee is one of India’s biggest coffee producers.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks chief executive, firmly believes that only India can match the possibilities that the China market has, where they have already planned a whooping 1500 branch numbers in the next five years. He reportedly told the Wall Street Journal, “India is one of the most dynamic markets in the world with a diverse culture and tremendous potential. We believe India can be an important source for coffee in the domestic market, as well as across the many regions globally where Starbucks has operations.”  Replicating the US model, Schultz aims to make Starbucks the third place outside work and home.

The Indian Modus operandi includes running concessions in Tata’s hotels and retail outlets as well as running standalone stores in the Major Metros, for starters. Tata coffee’s chairman, R K Krishnakumar believes that there is a possibility of tremendous growth in the relatively newer concept of Cafes and with Starbucks aggressive strategy, a Starbucks exact replica of the New York or Paris branches is sure to come to life within half a year. Starbucks began the Indian Chapter in 2007.  Per the Indian regulations they can venture their Brand with a maximum stake of fifty one percent. At the moment, there is no exclusivity with TATA . TATA is looking to be a lot more than just another Franchise partner.

Starbucks Indian competitors include Café Coffee Day, a Coffee Day Resorts’ unit in 177 cities, Lavazza, Italian coffee brand,  the owner of Barista chain supplies and the recently entered UK based Costa Coffee which also sisters US Coffee Bean and Tea leaf company.

To survive in the Asian Markets, particularly the Chinese and the Indian, the best way is to adapt to the local tastes and styles. Therefore, modification of the Brand Image is also a necessity to make the appeal Global and easier for the locals to get used to. So now the logo change of Starbucks is beginning to make sense.

Starbucks Coffee, TATA

Coffee Beans

The Starbucks siren, now no longer escorted by the coffee label, hints at the possibility that Starbucks is in no mood to just be coffee, which makes it highly likely that they are willing to take a dive into the deep waters of the Asian markets, swimming out not just to have a sip of coffee but also to  enjoy the other flavors and experiences that this decision may bring. America’s outrage is understandable as everything familiar is making itself over – the Government, the Conglomerates and now, the beloved Starbucks.  However, what they fail to understand is that Starbucks is not going through a Midlife crisis. It is undergoing a total body makeover with the best features still to stay unaltered – the Signature Coffee.

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Tom Parker

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