Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
10 August 2017
The meaningless name change of Dunkin Donuts
According to an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News last week, Dunkin Donuts is toying with the idea of removing Donuts from its name. The company says the new Dunkin name is an effort to show the company as a beverages and coffee leader.
I say it’s a well-established brand grasping at straws.
Dunkin Donuts is an iconic brand. It has done an admirable job of changing as the desires of consumers change. It uses the unquenchable thirst of the masses for coffee to its advantage as a growth vehicle. That works in brand extensions to K-cups and packaged coffees.
Yet Dunkin says this move forces people to think of it as something other than just a donut shop.
Guess what. Going out of business would’ve already happened if that’s all people thought of you, Dunkin Donuts.
Dunkin’ Donuts is the name that has built its brand. Remember its old ads? People still repeat the words, “Time to make the donuts” during times of tongue and cheek hardship.
“Should Taco Bell re-name itself to The Bell because it sells breakfast? (Or like when Radio Shack changed its name to The Shack briefly. To wild acclaim!)”
Dunkin Donuts already owns the right brand permission
Sure, times change. As coffee becomes more popular, so do the number of coffee related options Dunkin Donuts offers.
America may run on Dunkin, but the brand is still Dunkin Donuts.
This isn’t nostalgia talking here, though Dunkin’ Donuts possesses a modern feel for a nostalgic brand. This is about making sound brand and business decisions.
Let’s forget the absurdity and expense of changing signage for more than 12,000 stores worldwide for a moment. There just is no need to change.
The brand is not broken. Branding Dunkin Donuts to simply Dunkin does not magically make the brand about coffee and beverages. Should Taco Bell re-name itself to The Bell simply because it sells breakfast? (Or like when Radio Shack changed its name to The Shack briefly. To wild acclaim!)
A company, especially one as established as Dunkin Donuts, should only change its name if their current name does not give them permission to do something that would fundamentally impact their business. Dunkin already has permission to be a beverage and coffee leader. Not only does it have permission, it is already doing it pretty well.
Changing the name is a foolish and expensive rebranding. It is confusing activity with accomplishment and does nothing to build the Dunkin Donuts brand.
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