Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Branding Less Than Donuts

In today's competitive coffeehouse race for customers, Dunkin' Donuts is making some significant branding changes. According to industry experts, Dunkin' Donuts has a name that doesn't jive with calorie-conscious consumers. With donuts in the name, they wonder, how can it compete with Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Peet's Coffee, and more?

When a variety of factors indicate a need for drastic change, the time has come for a new marketing strategy. This is exactly what this Massachusetts-based chain founded in 1950, is in the process of unveiling. Visit one particular Dunkin' Donuts in Pasadena, California, and you'll see a new sign: Dunkin’. Coffee and more.

According to the company's announcement:
"The branding experiment in Pasadena marks the start of a trial period during which the company will gauge customer response and evaluate whether to take the new name nationwide. There are more than 11,300 Dunkin’ Donuts stores worldwide. Most, about 8,500, are spread across 41 states. The 3,200 international locations span 36 countries."

If you were curious, industry leader Starbucks operates in 70 countries with more than 24,000 total stores.

The company announcement continued:
“While we remain the number one retailer of donuts in the country, as part of our efforts to reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led brand and coffee leader, we will be testing signage in a few locations that refer to the brand simply as “Dunkin’. The name change shouldn’t come as a big surprise to customers. We've been referring to ourselves simply as Dunkin’ in our advertising for more than a decade, ever since we introduced our ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ ’ campaign. We'll introduce new storefront signage at an unspecific number of additional restaurants later this year [but] It will be late 2018 before any final branding decisions are made."

So what do you think? 

Has Dunkin' Donuts made a good decision to drop the word "Donuts" from its name? What about its brand equity, brand experience, and brand story? The brand has a relationship with its customers and fans, and its name is part of the overall brand experience. Will "Dunkin'. Coffee and more." create the same brand experience? Only time will tell - donuts certainly won't.

Image Credit: Dunkin' Donuts.

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