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May 12, 2010

Seattle's Best Coffee Gets Aggressive Naming and Branding Retread

SeattlesBestCoffee.gifStarbucks is using some slick branding to survive the competition McDonald's has offered during the recession.

They have controlled the Seattle's Best Coffee brand name since 2003, but now refreshed the logo and are planning to expand franchising from 3,000 points of distribution to "more than 30,000" by the end of the company's fiscal year.

You'll find it everywhere, from "cafes and cruise ships to bookstores and grocery aisles," as well as in AMC movie theaters and Burger Kings.

The new logo "maintains the brand's historic association with its name and the color red while assembling a number of universal coffee symbols, such as a drop and a cup."

So what we have here is a brand name that Starbucks can use to offer a less expensive experience to users and compete aggressively at the low end of the market "without sullying its own brand name."

Take that, McCafe!

It should come as no surprise that Seattle's Best Coffee has Seattle in its bones: it was started in 1969, originally under the name the Wet Whisker before it became "Stewart Brothers Coffee," eventually changing to Seattle's Best Coffee (with 129 locations) and getting bought by mighty Starbucks.

The Seattle's Best employees have bragged that they have retained the company's identity in the face of the acquisition, with rumors that they did not share their coffee recipes with their new owners.

As of last year there were only 580 Seattle's Best shops, with 480 of them in Borders bookstores. However, the brand is now being used to wonderful effect to compete in market's once below the Starbucks' radar.

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Posted by William Lozito at May 12, 2010 7:15 AM
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