Death of a Brand in Slow Motion: Starbucks

The Wall Street Journal published an article this morning about how Starbucks will immediately begin grinding beans each time it brews a new batch of coffee rather than grinding coffee only in the morning. The move will do two things: ensure customers receive fresh ground coffee and fill the stores with the sounds of grinders. It appears this is the one thing McDonald’s and 7-Eleven haven’t figured out how to do — yet. This story is not good news for Starbucks. The fact the media even covers this and all the changes the coffee giant has made in recent months shows that mainstream media is obsessed with every detail — no matter how small or calculated — of a sinking brand.

Here’s the scoop: Starbucks grew big … fast. With the economy on the skids and McDonald’s making a more appropriate cup of joe for the palate and pockets of mainstream America, one wonders how far this giant can fall and how quickly. While it has closed some stores, it’s continuing to open more. It’s a great company. I don’t think it will ever vanish. But the shine has grown dull on this former Wall Street darling, which was once held to the esteem of fast-growing brands like Apple and Google.

The company will likely rebound. In the meantime, the world — much like myself, Venti Mocha Latte in hand — seems content to watch a great brand struggle to capture that lost reverence of its youth.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit:

2 Responses

  1. Starbucks coffee is s***. The roast and brew are bitter. Their offerings are overpriced. They have no business model in the YR2009 age. Mr. Kennedy’s article gives this dinosaur too much credit. They may stay around, but they stink and shrink. Their brews remind me of similar happenings to “Dunkin Donuts”, when they decided to value-down their coffee bean brews.

    Save your money and get McDonald’s Coffee. Wonderful flavor and full body natural coffee!

    For store brand brew coffee, try Maxwell House MASTER BLEND, another fine coffee.

  2. Leila says:

    McDonald’s serving mochas? Now I’ve seen everything…

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