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The Duffin, Now at Starbucks?
By: Janet Kalandranis
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In the brand world, Starbucks is at the top of the list, in with the elite few like Apple. These are the brands that are held to a higher standard and seem to produce only success. Even with mistakes or wrong turns, these brands understand how to learn, move on, and succeed in the future. Starbucks is one of these brands. So when they do something, it’s definitely been researched and critiqued to make sure it only produces a positive. This is not a brand that latches on to trends, but instead creates lasting movements to attract customers.

But Starbucks' latest move is a bit shocking, yet the brand is moving full force ahead with nothing but success on its mind. Playing off the recent trend of combining two pastries into one sweet treat — think the cronut (a combination croissant and donut) — Starbucks introduced the duffin. That’s right; it’s a donut and muffin mix, and Starbucks is standing 110% behind its new product introduction. Very unexpected, yet it’s Starbucks, so there must be a reason.

Starbucks isn’t the brand that latches on to trends. It’s the brand that creates something new and makes it popular because of the strategy it incorporates. So this duffin introduction seems a little off for the brand. It’s a little silly, yet a bit more mature because it’s Starbucks. Don’t think the brand is second guessing this duffin, as it’s not a limited-time product, but instead a steady stable menu item. Customers, get ready to try the duffin. Maybe it’s the way Starbucks introduces a product like this. It’s serious, it’s all about taste, and it isn’t calling it a trend. Do customers latch on to what Starbucks says so much that the conversation is a little more accepted? Or is Starbucks just allowed to push the boundaries a bit further because there’s a strong trusting bond that it’s created over the years?

Whatever the reason, this duffin thing was a surprise. Not something that customers necessarily thought would be the next product on the menu for the coffee maven. But there also hasn’t been a ton of backlash yet. So maybe the way Starbucks researches and then introduces products allows customers to trial and taste before they make some funny duffin jokes. Starbucks, you never cease to amaze the brand world, and whatever the result of the duffin, it’s going to be a good brand lesson one way or another.

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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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