When Starbucks announced
earlier in January that it would be removing the words "Starbucks
Coffee" from its logo and leaving its iconic twin-tailed, long-haired
mermaid all by herself, many people--including Starbucks Chief
Executive Howard Schultz--chalked the change up to the company's
campaign to expand beyond coffee into other food products. That's when people weren't just trashing the move outright.
was the redesign also a less-publicized effort to expand business in
Asia? Are Starbucks executives harnessing the wonders of geometry to
influence cultural perceptions and pad the company's bottom line?
David Zax at Fast Company thinks so.
Zax, noting that Starbucks is planning aggressive expansion into Asia and particularly China, bases his opinion on a soon-to-be-published Rice University study. Marketing professor Vikas Mittal and his fellow researchers found that the removal of lettering gives the new Starbucks logo a
more rounded appearance, which has greater appeal
in "interdependent and collectivist cultures--often found in Asian
countries, such as India and China--than in Western countries, which
tend to have a more independent or individualistic culture."