March 12, 2007
Starbucks’ New Music Brand Name: Starbucks Records Isn’t About Coffee or Records
Yesterday the New York Post broke the story that Starbucks is going to launch its own record label and wants Paul McCartney to offer the first release.
The new company name will be Starbucks Records and could sell music via in-store kiosks. Of course, it’s unlikely they will actually sell records at all. This looks like retro brand naming aimed at the demographic who can still remember turntables.
Some bloggers think this is a great idea. On the other hand, an interesting post from earlier in the week might give one pause: Stephen Smoliar points out that a recent poll by CRM Buyer shows Dunkin’ Donuts is quickly gaining ground on Starbucks, scoring higher than the well known brand name on “in-store experience” and “quality” and “taste.”
Smoliar quotes the head of Brand Keys, the folks who did the poll: “When you think of Dunkin', you think of doughnuts and coffee. You don't think of CDs, you don't think of sandwiches, you don't think of newspapers.” Smoliar also wonders, “Is America losing its taste for the ‘Seattle trendy’ cachet, if not for the beans and brewing?”
A three part post by ex-Starbucks employees John Moore and Paul Williams on Brand Autopsy and Idea Sandbox dissects Starbucks’ branding efforts and notes that the company is just selling too much stuff: from finger puppets to Barista Bears to, yes, CDs.
Maybe, Moore says, if they want their brand to gain ground on their ferocious competitors, they should ask themselves a simple question about every single brand name extension: “Does this product link directly to coffee?”
I think Starbucks has lost its way, but has what it takes to get back on track, focusing on the Starbucks experience.
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