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BizReport : Advertising : August 23, 2017


Dunkin' Donuts to Dunkin: Good move or bad?

Earlier this month, Dunkin' Donuts began testing a change to their name, cutting off the 'Donut' part to simply be Dunkin'. While brand changes like this are never approached on a whim, even the best planning in the world can backfire. What does Dunkin's potential name change mean?

by Kristina Knight

"A business' name sets the stage for what product and associated experience the customer can expect to receive from a brand. Whether the franchise is looking to drop "Donuts" from its name as a rebrand aimed at millennials or to be better known as a beverage-first company, a move that may seem harmless to the brand's marketers, could actually run the risk of alienating a core group of its long-time loyal customers who dislike this idea of a name-change," said Andrew Park, Director of Customer Experience Strategy, InMoment. "Any business undergoing a shift in brand identity should pause and remember Coca-Cola's infamous formula change in the '80s. We're in the age of the customer, so when considering any large-scale decision that affects the customer experience--even for as minor a change as the sign they read--brands should first invite customers to weigh-in."

So, how does a brand approach a name change without losing it's loyal base?

"The key to brand loyalty is creating an emotional connection with customers. For a brand like Dunkin' Donuts that has a loyal customer base, it can be risky to make a significant change to the brand. For example, when Coca-Cola redesigned its logo in 2015, customers disliked it so much that the company went back to the original logo. Similarly, Dunkin' Donuts would be wise to listen carefully to customers' reactions to the name change. It's important to remember that the company is testing this change in California only for now. This is a smart move to avoid a customer loyalty misstep - by analyzing customer reactions in the test market, the company can get customer opinion without making a widespread, permanent change," said Dave Andreadakis, Chief Strategy Officer, Kobie Marketing.

Data, then, is the first and possibly most important step in the process of undergoing a name change. Brands can research when customers are coming in to a store, what are they buying, how are they talking about the brand on social media. This kind of information can help a brand determine, before launching a name-changing campaign, if the move will be positively received. It could also identify potential stumbling blocks so that brands can prepare for them.

"This treasure trove of insights can reveal rich detail, as well as the "why" behind the numbers, preventing backlash, and providing customer-directed guidance on the "what next,"" said Park. "Dunkin Donuts' test roll-out of its abbreviated name and expanded concept within a confined geography may be a true test, or a publicity stunt. Either way, I hope they're listening to what their customers across all markets are already telling them about the switch. Because you'd better bet, they're already weighing in."

Tags: advertising, brand advertising, brand name change, Dunkin Donuts, InMoment, Kobie Marketing, loyalty marketing










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