Dunkin’ Donuts Rebrands — Serves Up Lesson in Customer-Centricity
Recently, Dunkin’ Donuts announced that it will drop “Donuts” from its name, leaving only Dunkin’. However, the rebranding does not suggest that doughnuts will be dropped from the menu. Customer-centricity is at the heart of the move, because the brand wants to ensure patrons know they can buy more than fried dough.
A Little Bit of Dunkin’ History
The rebranding announced on Sept. 25 goes into effect in January, but was a long time in the making.
Dunkin’ Donuts hails from Massachusetts, where, at first, the chain was known as the Open Kettle. That’s because the brand began by serving coffee and doughnuts. In 1950, two years after the opening of the first restaurant, Open Kettle changed its name to Dunkin’ Donuts. In 1963, the company opened its 100th restaurant and the brand started to be significantly recognizable. From then on, Dunkin’ Donuts experienced fast growth, mostly through franchise agreements.
In 2006, Dunkin’ Donuts launched its famous marketing campaign with the slogan "America Runs on Dunkin’." Ten years later, the company opened its 12,000th restaurant. Currently, the Dunkin’ Donuts is present in 45 countries.
What’s Going on Now?
The mentioned rebranding from Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’ will start implementation officially in January 2019, changing the look of the restaurants and merchandise. It will be firstly introduced on the U.S. market; later, it will take on the international ones.
The reason for the change is beverages such as coffee and iced tea account for around 60% of Dunkin’ sales. Moreover, the menu nowadays is very extensive, and doughnuts are only a part of it.
Talking about the menu, the company plans on simplifying it. The menu will have limited options and be cut down by 10%, at least. This customer-centric move is also strongly related to the current rebranding. A simple name will reflect a simple menu.
The company says all the rebranding changes are in favor of Dunkin’ lovers and not for the sake of a change itself. The CEO of the Dunkin’ Brands said:
“Our new branding is one of many things we are doing as part of our blueprint for growth to modernize the Dunkin’ experience for our customers.”
Moreover, the company’s goal is to be on a first name-basis with its customers. So, if Dunkin’ Donuts is the full name, Dunkin’ is the first name.
According to Vox as summarized by Inc., the branding moves “away from the specific and towards the vague,” which was the same strategy Starbucks used in the past. Starbucks Coffee turned into just Starbucks, because it didn’t want to suggest that the only thing it sold was coffee. In the case of Dunkin’, it doesn’t want to be known for selling only doughnuts.
In terms of logo, the colors and font remain unchanged. The only new aspect is the removal of the word “Donuts.”
Is This Rebranding a Good Change?
The company tested out the idea of rebranding itself to Dunkin’ in one of its restaurants in Pasadena, Calif. The customer feedback was apparently so positive that the concept will be now implemented on a world-wide scale. The previously mentioned 2006 campaign “America Runs on Dunkin’ ” brought the first positive customer reaction to the shortened name.
As for the future plans, the company aims to open 1,000 new stores in before 2020. Moreover, the restaurants will have a mobile ordering system and special in-store lanes dedicated to online pre-orders. New restaurants will also introduce a tap system for cold drinks, such as cold brew coffee and iced tea.
It will be interesting to see how many brands follow this customer-centric rebranding example.
Related story: It's Time to Re-brand. Or Maybe Not.