New Starbucks logo 'could prove beneficial to company'

Washington, Jan 8 (ANI): Despite general disappointment expressed by U.S. consumers in response to the redesigned Starbucks logo unveiled yesterday, scientists believe the move could do good to the company.

"The logo of a brand is much more than a pictorial representation of the brand. For consumers who are highly committed to the brand, the logo represents a visual conduit that enables a customer to identify with the brand," said Rice University Professor of Marketing Vikas Mittal.

"Our studies have shown that highly committed consumers also have very high levels of brand attachment. As such, any changes to the brand conduit-the logo-are seen as a violation of the psychological contract between the brand and the consumer."

Starbucks dropped both its name and the word "coffee" from its 40-year-old logo as the Seattle-based coffee chain prepares to triple its locations in China from about 400 to 1,500.

In one of his studies, Mittal found that companies that changed their logo design were most likely to estrange their most committed customers. A second study found that when angular logos were changed to rounded logos, they were more acceptable in interdependent and collectivist cultures.

Mittal and his team discovered that the higher the consumer's commitment to the brand, the more negative the consumer's reaction to any changes in the logo design.

"It is important for companies to refresh their logos, but the process of doing so must be carefully managed," Mittal said.

"Our research shows that companies need to carefully consult customers-whether through Internet sites or chat rooms-to ensure that customers feel they have been heard in the redesign and repositioning process. That will ensure that highly committed customers-who are also often the heaviest consumers of the brand-feel connected to the brand."

Despite the redesign evoking strong reactions in US, it will likely generate more brand loyalty among new customers in countries such as China, India, Taiwan and Singapore, he said.

Mittal said that removing the lettering gives the logo a more rounded appearance.

"Research in aesthetics shows that interdependent cultures prefer rounded shapes as they represent harmony, which is consistent with an interdependent view of the world," Mittal said.

"Those countries tend to have a higher percentage of rounded logos compared with individualistic countries, and logos and product shapes that are rounded are more acceptable and embraced in those cultures." (ANI)

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