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Blonde or Brunette?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Two completely different looks; how does one decide? Honestly, people tend to prefer one over the other. So what if a brand only offers brunette, but the customer wants blonde? Said brand invents blonde, lets the customer know, and the rest is history. No, this isn’t about hair color or dating; it’s about coffee...and the way Starbucks invited an excluded customer segment to come give the brand a try. It wasn’t rushed, it wasn’t confusing, it was just Blonde.

Starbucks understands marketing; that is a known. It is a brand to follow, one to learn from, and it definitely has no shortage of happy customers. However, since the day Starbucks came on the scene it was known for bold, dark roast coffee. Something that doesn’t appeal to all those lighter coffee drinkers out there. Starbucks took notice, quietly. Instead of quickly whipping up a less-than-stellar batch of something watery, the brand started innovating and thinking and waiting. All important lessons in the world of brand marketing.

Now we are in the midst of the “Blonde” launch. It’s real, it’s inviting, and it’s definitely a brand win. Starbucks is using traditional methods of advertising (hello, TV campaign) to let customers know that it has a new option. And although they are taking a lesson from traditional marketing, Starbucks, of course, used its own brand twist, with actual employees telling the story of how “Blonde” came to be and how it helps them be a better employee, son, etc.

It’s also important to note that Starbucks took its time creating the Blonde roast. Instead of quickly rushing to launch a lighter roast, Starbucks saw the benefit in doing it right and putting emphasis around the launch. It’s not a new flavor latte that can be supported by in-store marketing, but instead a new extension of the brand that needs to be highlighted to those that may have already sworn off the taste of Starbucks coffee. Blonde may be new, but it’s nothing short of Starbucks excellence. It’s lighter, it’s refreshing, and it ultimately extends the brand. Starbucks has gone Blonde.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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