ORLANDO – To Tony Weisman, the CMO of Dunkin’, paranoia is necessary for brands’ survival.
“If we keep serving the same product to the same consumers in the same way, over time, we’re going to go the way of a lot of other retail brands in recent years,” Weisman told Beet.TV in an interview at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference. “No one has a forever right to live. The ones who are winning are the ones who are paranoid about changing and evolving fast enough to meet consumer needs.”
And customer expectations are changing quickly, says Weisman. That holds Dunkin’ to a high standard to offer great experiences not just for a casual restaurant brand, but for any brand. The Dunkin’ app, for example, has to be as good as Spotify, Uber and Amazon’s apps, not just good for a QSR or restaurant app, he says. But that doesn’t mean Dunkin’ is trying to be something that it’s not for customers. It fills a specific need, which revolves around fulfilling customers’ needs quickly. “Everything we do is about speed,” says Weisman. “There are plenty of places you can go to write the next great American novel. Not Dunkin’.”
Speed is at the center of Dunkin’s pitch to consumers, but change and innovation is at the center of the brand’s strategy. According to Weisman, the company has a blueprint for growth that covers every aspect of the business, including product innovation – Dunkin’ introduced more modern products like healthier breakfast bowls and Beyond branded sausage sandwiches – and marketing. Most blatantly, the company changed its name from Dunkin’ Donuts in 2018 to re-establish itself. Product packaging and advertising followed suit. It’s all part of a bigger company update that touches everything from the appearance to the app to the method of getting products to customers, like delivery.
What hasn’t changed is the efficacy of broad-reach channels like TV. Video is critical to Dunkin’s strategy, and while Weisman says traditional TV isn’t as targeted as he may like, affordable reach is a big selling point when Dunkin’s most targeted customer group is 65 million people wide. This is a group Dunkin’ considers “switchers”: They’re daily coffee drinkers who haven’t rejected Dunkin’ (like the rejectors – people who don’t like the Dunkin’ coffee or brand) but may not always go there as their first choice (like the loyalists – people who go there every morning with the same order).
To figure out if messaging to this group is working, Weisman says device-enabled, geo-based tracking is useful.
“If you come into our store, you buy something,” says Weisman. “So we want to know if you were exposed to a message and made a trip. That’s a good way to measure conversion.”