“Steve Barrett, who heads Starbuck’s 100-strong design studio, puts it in perspective. “While business in 2010 picked up nicely, we have been through a painful period, bottoming in 2009 – a combination of self-inflicted problems, the economic downturn, and better-focused competition from both independent coffee houses and chains like McDonalds. Howard and the leadership team [I paraphrase] have countered with a variety of successful moves (including Frappuccino and VIA) but the biggest is to get back to our roots, to re-charge the power of connections between our partners [read employees] and our customers. We think a rebranding can be a helpful signal to partners and customers alike of a new, emerging Starbucks.”
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