However, it seems that smart consumers are actually starting to push back on all this agency inspired crap. There’s a really interesting post on Reuters “Entrepreneurial” blog about how Starbucks is opening “stealth” Starbucks – Stores without the Starbucks name over the front door – These are starting to appear in Seattle, its hometown, and London. Like the other stealth outlets, these have antique-style furniture, retro lighting, and not a Starbucks logo in sight.
Even though Starbucks would never admit it, this has to be a fucking crisis for them. When a brand is forced to hide its own identity, doesn’t this imply that its name – the core of the brand – has lost value? Why is Starbucks beginning to act like a small business? As the Reuters piece points out… The answer rests with communities and consumers. Over the last several years, a quiet but emphatic shift in buying patterns has taken place. Is the unthinkable happening? Are smart consumers starting to reject brands?