Starbucks is one of the most successful international companies on the planet, and when it comes to coffee, it is the world’s undisputed No. 1. However, according to Coffee Review, the experts’ opinion is the quality of the coffee doesn’t quite match Starbucks’ business acumen, with the source claiming that the drinks they have tested over the years have earned an average score of 83.1, which they describe as “good, but not great.” So what is the secret of Starbucks’ success?
Business expert Martin Roll claims that Starbucks’ popularity is thanks in part to its distinctive brand marketing: Its unusual but snappy name, its intriguing “Siren” logo, and the distinctive green color in which both of these elements are rendered, which reliably signal a “relaxing coffeehouse experience all over the world.”
But what is with Starbucks’ name (snappy and unusual as it is), and the brand’s nautical design? The story involves Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby-Dick,” an antique map, and a very savvy brand consultant.
There were two terrible alternatives to the name 'Starbucks'
Starbucks’ name is inspired by that of Starbuck, the first mate on Captain Ahab’s whaling ship in Herman Melville’s novel “Moby-Dick,” which became a touchstone, Starbucks website claims, as a way of “evoking the seafaring tradition of the early coffee traders.”
Starbucks co-founder Gordon Bowker remembered the decision-making process like this: “We were thinking of all kinds of names and came desperately close to calling it Cargo House, which would have been a terrible, terrible mistake. Terry Hecker [Bowker’s colleague] mentioned in an offhand way that he thought words that begin with ‘st’ were powerful words. I thought about that and I said, yeah, that’s right, so I did a list of ‘st’ words. Somebody somehow came up with an old mining map of the Cascades and Mount Rainier, and there was an old mining town called Starbo” (per The Seattle Times).
Starbo immediately reminded Bowker of the character from the novel, and eventually the idea took hold. However, that’s not the end of the story, as at one point the Starbucks founders were half-convinced to name their new coffee store after the ship itself: Pequod. However, Heckler intervened and perhaps saved the future of the company when he pointed out: “No one’s going to drink a cup of Pee-quod!” (per Yahoo Life).
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