Known best for their association with Borders's, Seattle's Best Coffee, a Starbuck's brand, recently launched a major re-branding effort. It includes new rewards for brand fans and an updated logo, Web site, and Facebook page.
The coffee company, purchased by Starbucks in 2003, is part of a bold strategy to redefine the coffee category, allowing consumers easier access to premium coffee through the association with popular retail outlets.
According to Starbucks, Seattle's Best is available through 3,000 retail distribution points and will be increased to 10 times that many by year's end, with the overall goal being 30,000 retail touchpoints at high-profile retailers as well as expanded efforts for stand-alone franchises.
“We are determined to turn the traditional coffee model on its head with innovative new approaches in every phase of our business -- partnerships, retail, and packaged goods -- and to take our premium coffee to the places our customers go in their everyday lives,” said Michelle Gass, president, Seattle’s Best Coffee.
Distribution points include a new deal with AMC Theatres to serve Seattle’s Best at 300 Theaters beginning in July, a deal with Burger King to offer the Seattle coffee by September 2010, a partnership with Alaska Airlines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and the continuing relationship with Borders.
The brand's new look has been simplified, using a historic association with the color red and adding some long-standing coffee symbols, like a drop in a cup to provide a more graphically pleasing result.
The brand, introduced in the 1970s, began with a whimsical take on coffee and the coffee business. As competition became heated over the years, this fun outlook was lost.
The new look and internal company changes seem to suggest that Seattle's Best is stating that while they take coffee seriously, there's a carefree side to them as well. Considering that the mother ship, Starbucks, has battled to remain somewhat serious when threatened by McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and a host of other coffee contenders, the carefree attitude of Seattle's Best provides the company with a unique niche.
"We are looking to create a global identity and this is not just a domestic play," Glass stated. "We need a brand that reflects our values, and the ones I’m speaking about are fun, optimism, simplicity and mobility and also showing that with great design. When you see Seattle’s Best Coffee and all of our marketing, you’ll get a very clear picture of what we stand for."
According to the revamped Web site, the first 10,000 people to "join" the new branding effort will receive "surprise" swag.