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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

 

Have You Seen Seattleʼs Best?

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Its logo that is. Well if you haven’t, you’re in for a real surprise. But before I tell you what I think, let me first say I have very strong negative thoughts about this new identity and they are solely my own. There, now I can say anything I want.

OK, I hate Seattle’s Best’s new logo. Let me give you a few of the reasons. but before I do judge for yourself. First the old logo, then the new one.

Seattle's Best original logo
(Seattleʼs Former Logo)

Seattle's Best new logo
(Seattleʼs New Logo)

So what do you think...Would you say this is an improvement? Does it engage you? Does it make you want to be a part of anything Seattle’s has got going? Does it properly express the core brand character that makes Seattle’s Best best? If you don’t think so, then you know why I am shocked that this is actually something they are going to use.

And then there is also the question of why would Starbucks and presumably Seattle’s Best make this change in the first place? According to company press releases, Starbucks, owner of Seattle’s Best Coffee, is putting its energy into driving the sales of Seattle’s Best Coffee. This is curious when you consider that they used to be competitors until Starbucks acquired Seattle’s Best in 2003. Starbucks reports that it intends to expand the brand to more than 30,000 locations, up from 3,000, by the end of its fiscal year in September.

Also revealing is that Starbucks’ business has been reduced recently by lower cost coffee retailers such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and other less expensive coffee choices. Starbucks has closed stores and reported reduced revenues of late.

So there you have it. Starbucks is driving a new corporate look and positioning for its acquisition, Seattle’s Best, and doing an extremely poor job at it. Sometimes you are better off leaving well enough alone. Clearly, this was one of those times.

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Bill Farquharson - Posted on May 27, 2010
Well, at least the colors are the same. What blows my mind is when a long-accepted and quickly recognizable company changes the color AND the logo. Here in the Northeast, D'Angelos Sandwiches did it a few years ago. I go looking for green and drive right by red. Blows my mind. Good column, Tom!
Kelly - Posted on May 27, 2010
I guess the logo just leaves me cold, where the old one invokes warmth and some old school charm. I'm not sure that I agree with leaving well enough alone, though, but if they were so intent on making a change, I wonder what kind of focus groups or testing they went through to gauge it's public perception....
Allen - Posted on May 26, 2010
I agree Tom, I definitely do not like the logo change. The rich colors along with the slogan of the old logo give a sense of familiarity and warmth. The new logo is boring and sterile...Oh yeah, that's now called 'contemporary'. Just as lifeless as the company that now owns it!
Noel Ward - Posted on May 26, 2010
You're right. The new logo is about as bland, unmemorable, classless as Folger's instant. I remember years ago seeing a sign in San Francisco—on a shop that proudly sold Seattle's Best—that went something like: "We definitely do NOT sell Starbucks coffee here." The place was always busy.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Bill Farquharson - Posted on May 27, 2010
Well, at least the colors are the same. What blows my mind is when a long-accepted and quickly recognizable company changes the color AND the logo. Here in the Northeast, D'Angelos Sandwiches did it a few years ago. I go looking for green and drive right by red. Blows my mind. Good column, Tom!
Kelly - Posted on May 27, 2010
I guess the logo just leaves me cold, where the old one invokes warmth and some old school charm. I'm not sure that I agree with leaving well enough alone, though, but if they were so intent on making a change, I wonder what kind of focus groups or testing they went through to gauge it's public perception....
Allen - Posted on May 26, 2010
I agree Tom, I definitely do not like the logo change. The rich colors along with the slogan of the old logo give a sense of familiarity and warmth. The new logo is boring and sterile...Oh yeah, that's now called 'contemporary'. Just as lifeless as the company that now owns it!
Noel Ward - Posted on May 26, 2010
You're right. The new logo is about as bland, unmemorable, classless as Folger's instant. I remember years ago seeing a sign in San Francisco—on a shop that proudly sold Seattle's Best—that went something like: "We definitely do NOT sell Starbucks coffee here." The place was always busy.