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Image courtesy Starbucks

There is nothing simple or easy about creating a brand. Ask Starbucks. They have previewed a new logo to be released this spring and they have dropped ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Coffee’ from the logo. Soon, we will be seeing only the Melusine, the mermaid-like creature with her long, flowing hair. There have been mixed reactions to this whole development. The marketing pundits see this as a sure sign that Starbucks is thinking in terms of expanding the brand to more than coffee. Quite likely, and why not? They have a tried and tested brand and having successfully convinced thousands to buy $3.00 coffees, they want to explore new directions.

I find the Starbucks story very interesting and pertinent. It is like having a ring-side seat to a special demo for all of us trying to define personal brands. I am a writer and I am a marketing professional. I don’t want to emphasize one and miss out on the other; I also do not want to be undefined. Starbucks feels the limitation of being seen only as a coffee shop and the executives feel that while that is where they started, their abilities can be easily extended to offer a lifestyle brand.

Here is what I take away from this logo change:

  • It is perfectly okay to redefine yourself and explore new directions.
  • You acquire expertise while delivering your core service (or product) and it is a good idea to share that with clients or customers.
  • Do not completely drop your original selling point for that is your proof of success.
  • It is imperative that your existing brand is solid and associated with a quality product, service or delivery system.

Incidentally, Starbucks is 40 years old this year. But I am sure this logo change is not about a mid-life crisis.