The Best Brands Keep Reinventing – Starbucks Open their first Coffee Lab

Starbuck’s Innovative Brand Leadership
Challenger brands come in all shapes and sizes. Whilst we typically picture new entrant into a category with established market leaders, or a small local business competing against a host of national and international brands, the way we define Challenger Brands here at Truly Deeply has more to do with mindset than market share. A brilliant example of our thinking is global coffee house brand Starbucks. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying Starbucks is the global leader in their category – and yet they display the same restless pursuit for betterment as the most hungry battler.

Over the years we’ve seen Starbucks climb-off their laurels and develop a number of different products and variations on their retail offer and store design – even competing brands launched to capture those customers who have a dislike for their flagship brand. And now we see Starbucks playing in one of the freshest and newest of spaces in the coffee house market – coffee labs.

Cutting Edge Coffee Culture
As coffee culture has evolved, especially in the inner city, urban landscapes in cities around the world, the cutting edge is being forged by the Uber Barista. These coffee fundamentalists are hell-bent on brewing the perfect cup of coffee, or at least the pursuit of that perfection. They are a hard core sub-culture seeking out the latest techniques, specialist equipment and bean blends in a search for the ultimate brew. The see their retail spaces not as cafes, coffee shops of houses, but as coffee labs.

Always one to run at the front of the pack, Starbucks opened their first coffee lab in Amsterdam earlier this year. Located in the vault of a historic bank on the Rembrandtplein, the lab is called The Bank. It contains the ubiquitous gathering spaces that are such a signature of the Starbucks’ retail experience and an in-store bakery. The store features a ‘Coffee Theater’ – the lab where baristas ‘develop new coffee brewing methods’ and offer ‘small batch reserve coffees available nowhere else on the continent’.

For an established market leader like Starbucks this vision of their perceived future is a reflection of the brand’s dedication to constant innovation and reinvention.

Here’s to challenger brands – no matter what shape or size they are. Long may they disrupt markets and drive change.

Dave Ansett
Chief Cre­ator of Brands

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