Starbucks, but not as we know it


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.


  • Hello MB
    Gad you are talking about the de-branding here.

    As part as a DE-branding theme – Zizzi restaurant is one of the brand…maybe they are just customizing…
    I have just completed my 7th restaurants.

    Other illustrators will follow as they have 80 left to refurbish.
    Published in DESIGN WEEK- 08 October 2009 | By Jack Jones
    ‘Debranding’ your well-known offer is all the rage at the moment – or at least customising it to suit a particular location.

  • I find myself more drawn to indie coffee shops and have yet to find an undrinkable coffee at any of them.

    (Obviously steer clear of little ones in National Rail stations etc…)

    But this amazing “debranding” effort simultaneously excites and frightens me. Soon I can see myself going into a coffee shop more for the ambience (as per usual) only to find it’s run by super-mega-global-bucks.

    It feels like a win-win and a lose-lose…