Why Starbucks Rebranded Seattle's Best Coffee | Adweek
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Why Starbucks Rebranded Seattle's Best Coffee

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BW: How are you looking to expand it?
MG:
Just to back up, our business model is multi-faceted. We have retail cafes, but we also have many key partners. You can find us in [airlines] and in some restaurants, like Burger King. It’s important for us to design a [business model] that honors the great history that we have in Seattle’s Best Coffee, but that also brings forward those attributes that make who we are really special and that invite people [to experience the brand] in expected and unexpected ways.
 
[And so], we are going to innovate in many new channels and in how we deliver coffee. We have interesting and new partnerships that we’re excited about and we’re working on refreshing our approach to our retail stores and our new products. One example is we recently introduced ready-to-drink iced latte products [in major West Coast grocery, convenience and retail stores].
 
BW: How did you decide on the creative execution and final logo rebranding?
Robson Grieve:
The thing it boiled down to was as we looked at the business plan, [we realized] that coffee was a bright spot for people and our coffee, [in particular], was a bright spot for people, whether they encountered it at a cafe or at a partner restaurant. We wanted to build a brand around this ideology . . . We wanted to take it and liberate it from this dense to dark structure and put it in a more modern form and turn it into a more flexible, universal symbol of great coffee not rooted in geography or culture, but really from place to place and all of these new places that we need to take it.
 
BW: Why the whole focus on premium if consumers are cutting back on discretionary spending now?
MG:
There is something really big here, something that we have not fully taken advantage of and now we’re unleashing it from the shadow of Starbucks and saying, “Let’s go build another big, iconic coffee brand.” Starbucks has only 4 percent of the coffee [sales] in the U.S., and that’s less than 1 percent worldwide. So there is room for another coffee brand with a different point of view to coexist happily with the Starbucks brand.
 
RG: When you look at the data about consumer behavior, spending hasn’t stopped. Spending has shifted and so, people are allowing themselves certain treats or things they want and scaling back on other expenses. I think that’s a positive consumer condition [for growth].
 
BW: What’s the differentiating factor here?
MG:
The way to think about it is that it’s really about occasions. So many times when you’re craving a great cup of coffee and can’t get it because you’re in the back of the line or there might not be a Starbucks store nearby, your ability to access that great coffee just isn’t there. So we see this wide open space to go to all of these places where traditionally there has not been a cup of premium coffee and we have an opportunity to turn the model around on its head and say, “It’s okay for a great cup of coffee to show up in new distribution models,” and new ways of thinking about coffee that the world has yet to see.
 
BW: Any new advertising on the way?
MG:
We do have plans under way. Like our voice, [the tone of the ads] will be fun and simple and you’ll see that topic show up in all kinds of places. We’re going to start a two-way conversation with our consumers. We have plans in the works.