Is it Time to Change Your Logo?

If you were Howard Schultz and you finally managed to pull your stock back to levels it hasn’t seen in four years, would you take the chance of changing what is arguably one of the most recognized logos on the planet?

Such a bold move can only mean one thing: the Starbucks business is also about to change.

Brand names and logos, especially ones that have attained significant market awareness and acceptance, should not be trifled with.

It’s kind of silly when you think about it. While a good brand name and a good logo can help the cause of an organization to build awareness and engagement and loyalty, in and of themselves they are rather meaningless. Seriously, does anyone thing Google is a good name? Does anyone think golden arches make a good logo?

At the end of the day, it is the organization itself – its vision, its practice, its people, its products and services, its prices, its promise and the delivery of that promise – that make the brand names and logos work.

If Starbucks coffee tasted like gas station java (and it clearly does not), all the logo changes in the world would not make a difference. On the other hand, if Starbucks coffee is recognized worldwide as the highest-quality coffee (and it clearly is), even a minor logo change can be huge.

So when is it time to change your logo? Mostly when it is designed to reflect a change in your business. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule… even Starbucks altered its original logo back in the late 1980s when it realized a mysterious sea nymph might be more appropriate than a bare-breasted siren.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.