The Great “Amazon-ing” of Starbucks

Posted inBranding & Identity Design
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What is it about huge companies and their need to “expand their services” to include everything under the sun? Remember when Amazon was just a site that sold books? Well, now Starbucks seems to be jumping into the manifest destiny pool. Not content to simply sell mediocre coffee on every block in the country, they appear to be gearing up for their own turbo powered world domination tour (as if they needed it). And it’s starting with, of all things, a redesign of the logo.

Starting in early 2011 Starbucks will unveil a new logo that jettisons the “Starbucks Coffee” type (and cute little stars) completely, and focuses entirely on the mermaid image. It seems like a strange move if you want to be the world’s biggest coffee chain. But when that’s exactly what you already are, I guess it’s too tempting to simply languish there. Also, if you read between the lines (and listen to CEO Howard Schultz’s spiel) it sounds pretty clear that the move was made to evolve the brand “beyond coffee.” The real question is: into what? They already sell a mean New York Times and a jaunty Christmas carol CD. What insidious new racket is Starbucks getting into next? Starbucks Airlines? Starbucks and Deluca? Starbucks Search Engine? I guess we’ll find out this year and I’m sure it will be a huge hit with the kids. But I for one wouldn’t mind if instead of conquering the world, the planet’s mega brands decided to just focus on one thing and do it really really well.