Starbucks, but not as we know it

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Earlier this week Starbucks’ experiment in de-branding crossed the pond and arrived in London’s Conduit Street. The new “concept” store moves away from the familiar green we are used to seeing on every street corner, and towards a more ‘local’ ambiance. According to the spokesperson on this slightly odd Facebook video, Starbucks were aiming to “elevate the value of what Starbucks represents” through a “coffee theatre” and a “classic, library setting” in order to bring the Third Space up-to-date. Crowd-sourcing opinion on the de-brand from our Twitter followers, the overall takeout (if you’ll excuse the pun) was that it was a caffeine-fuelled response to the backlash against big brands. While others, clearly more concerned with procuring a coffee they could rely on, felt that the “premiumisation” was an interesting approach to franchising. At the end of the day, people look to brands as a stamp of quality and assurance yet, in these times of austerity, are recoiling from aggressive marketing. Starbucks’ new “local” approach to their stores may be branding in disguise but they are dealing with strung-out caffeine junkies on a daily basis and there is only so far they can rock the boat.

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