WASHINGTON — The most famous name in coffee will soon disappear from Starbucks' cups, the company announced Wednesday, unveiling a new logo designed to conquer new markets.
The current ubiquitous logo -- a deep green ring emblazoned with "Starbucks Coffee," which encircles a black-and-white siren -- will now be banished from their recycled-content cups after nine years in action.
It will be replaced by a circular image of the green and white siren, with no mention of coffee or the company.
As it stripped away the Starbucks Coffee epithet, the Seattle firm -- which became famous by bringing baristas to the local coffee bar -- signaled a quest for new markets.
"We've allowed (the siren) to come out of the circle in a way that I think gives us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee," said chief executive Howard Schultz.
Battered by the recession, the company has already expanded its product lines to include tea, smoothies, food and has waded into the highly competitive grocery and music sales business.
"It embraces and respects our heritage, and at the same time evolves us to a point where we feel it is more suitable for the future," Schultz said of the redesign.
Even more diversification may be on the way, according to brand consultant Alina Wheeler, "revitalizing a brand often signals a new direction and commitment," she said.
It may also make it easier for customers using new technologies, according to Kevin Budelmann president of Peopledesign, a brand identity firm.
"There is an ongoing desire to simplify some of these graphic identities so that they can be more portable into different kinds of media spaces."
"Today people thinking about new graphic identities are thinking about Facebook icons and Twitter icons just as often as stationary or business cards."
The firm recently launched a pilot mobile payment scheme that allows customers to use their smartphone as a wallet.
And the change could help elevate Starbucks to iconic brand status.
"It puts them in a category with other brands like Nike and Apple. Iconic brands like Target, Apple, Nike and John Deere have become so recognizable that they don't need the name spelled out," Wheeler said.