Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is in hot water (er – coffee?) again over a special cup design. The design features a variety of different people sketched all over the cup. The cup is green with a white circle in the middle where the Starbucks logo would normally go.
The company has said that the design is supposed to represent unity. But some customers took that to mean that the coffee giant is trying to push a liberal agenda or politically brainwash its customers. Others are also angry because the cup was released around the same time Starbucks normally releases its special holiday cups. And the design features no real Christmas, winter or holiday themed elements aside from the color green.
While this cup design reportedly isn’t the official holiday design, this is a situation that Starbucks should’ve foreseen. This isn’t the first time they’ve been criticized over a holiday cup that wasn’t festive enough. So the company knows how important even something like a cup design can be to customers.
Brand Perception Can Be Affected by Small Changes
And with the current political climate, it can be tricky for any company to push any kind of an agenda, even one that might seem harmless. Whether or not the company was actually trying to push an agenda is up for debate. But if some customers think so, it could potentially hurt the coffee giant. So businesses of all sizes could do well to really consider how brand perception can be affected by small changes.