peter-adams-coffee-shop-amsterdam-netherlandsStarbucks has become such a massively influential brand that it is beginning to cave in on itself. Just like the white earbuds of iPods became a style staple and then become such a mass produced feature that the truly hip backed away from the white buds (and people discovered that they are far from the best quality), Starbucks’ most current competition is local neighborhood coffee shops that are far from corporate. So what is Starbucks doing? Unbranding. They are opening coffee shops without the Starbucks logo anywhere in sight. What an extreme, but kind of logical, plan! It’s like a camouflage shop (or maybe more like a hiding guerilla warrior waiting in the brush to grab you and force you to pay too much for your coffee)

I understand the idea of the local feel. “Location-specify loyalty” as opposed to the typical brand loyalty. Although I think Starbucks already has the location loyalty. Part of my morning routine is to  grab my iced coffee at the Starbucks next to my bus stop. I see many of the same people in there each morning as well as the employees that know my drink. I think the tipping point is more about the cost that the feel. Starbucks already has the cozy feel, the idea that a coffee shop is about more than just the coffee, as opposed to Dunkin Donuts  in-and-out idea. So we’ll see how these “inspired by Starbucks” shops in Seattle go…


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