The Naked Truth About Starbucks

What your people won’t tell you. Advice to Mr. Schultz from a Coffee Lover.


By now, you’ve probably heard that Starbucks has rolled out their “new” logo. This looks to me like the story of the Emperor Has No Clothes. Someone has convinced Mr. Schultz to invest a lot of money for an image that looks and feels exactly like the one he started with.

The first time I viewed the new logo I did a double click to ensure I was on the right page. Yep! No mistake there. It was then that I noticed the Starbucks name no longer appeared on the logo. Someone needs to let Mr. Schultz know that Starbucks is no Cheers. It’s not a place where everyone knows your name. Consider the following scenario. A shopper is dashing through the supermarket and arrives at the coffee aisle, which is overflowing with packages of coffee. Those that are not card-carrying members of the Starbucks club may very well miss the connection without the Starbucks name on the package.

Having just gone through a rebranding of my own firm, I get the fact that you need to update your image every now and again. I also understand the investment needed to carry out this change. But what if in the end, you came up with something that is no better than what you had? In fact, it’s worse.

I’m thinking the people at Starbucks are inhaling their own coffee vapors. No one has the guts to stop the coffee presses and say, “Hey, this doesn’t make sense. What if we put this money into improving our service levels?” And dare I add, coffee.

I recall the time when Starbucks closed all their locations for a day in order to provide associates with training. I stopped in the next day for a cup of coffee and couldn’t help but notice how the service had deteriorated. This is after a day of training. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a barista for that matter to know that a day of training without ongoing support is just that.

So if any of you personally know Mr. Schultz, please relay this message. It’s time to surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid of getting fired for disagreeing with you. In fact, this is exactly what you need to expand the Starbucks brand. Call me … we’ll talk over a cup of coffee.


© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the upcoming book, Suddenly in Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Visit Roberta’s Blog at Generations at Work or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in Charge! Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, HR Matters.

About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders.