Friday, July 17, 2009

Starbucks - your LOCAL coffeehouse

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 5:25 PM

This week's cover story on "localwashing" -- the practice of big companies attempting to position themselves as "local" to attract consumers -- has gotten a lot of attention. But it seems we missed a serious Bigfoot in the localwashing competition: Starbucks, which is now debranding some of its outlets in Seattle and rebranding them with community-cuddly names like "15th Avenue Coffee and Tea," according to the Seattle Times:

It will open next week, the first of at least three remodeled Seattle-area stores that will bear the names of their neighborhoods rather than the 16,000-store chain to which they belong.

Names and locations for the other two shops have not been finalized. If the pilot goes well in Seattle, it could move to other markets.

The new names are meant to give the stores "a community personality,"

said Tim Pfeiffer, senior vice president of global design. Starbucks' logo will be absent, with bags of the company's coffee and other products rebranded with the 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea name.

And the Seattle paper's story has a familiar expert quoted:

Those who can capture a sense of community and offer consumers a compelling experience will win in the long run, said Michelle Barry, senior vice president of the market-research firm Hartman Group in Bellevue.

Barry is the one in our story who said "Big companies have to be much more creative in how they articulate local. ... It's a different way of thinking about local that is not quite as literal."

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