Rebranding is important for the modern corporation, but it’s a risky venture indeed. If you do it wrong, you will lose brand loyalty, and make consumers and your best customers think, WTH? If you do it right you open your brand up to a whole new demographic and decades more of positive goodwill growth. It’s a high-risk, high-reward activity. The other choice is not to do anything and sit back on your laurels and hope your brand can carry you into the future without losing its luster. Some brands are able to get away with this, not many. Let’s discuss this.
You see, I once met Dunkin Donuts Founder, Bill Rosenberg at an International Franchise Convention in Las Vegas, he got it, he understood the importance of brand and he’d made a fortune because of it. Recently, I’d read that the company was considering rebranding itself, that makes sense actually.
Dunkin Donuts has decided to try out one of its stores in Los Angeles minus the “Donuts” in the name? Why? Simple, folks in Los Angeles, especially the West Side will not go to a place that is known for donuts, even if they do very much like the strong dark coffee in the morning. Solution: the brand experts at Dunkin Donuts will have a store which has a sign that merely says; Dunkin’s. Will this work?
Interestingly enough there was a telling article in QSR Magazine (Quick Service Restaurant Magazine) back in July of 2004 titled; “Fresh Challengers” by Sherri Daye Scott and Pat Dando discussing Krispy Kreme’s threat to Dunkin Donuts market dominance. The article noted that Krispy Kreme’s main branding point was that its donuts were fresh, something that Dunkin had either never claimed or their customers had never quite demanded of them. Customers came to expect ‘freshness’ of the Krispy Kreme product but not its competitor who already had the lion’s share of the market.
We all know what happened, all the hype died and so too did Krispy Kreme’s stock price. Many who loved the product were shocked at the implosion of the company, believing they had a better product, but too many also wanted to pull-back from sugary foods and fattening donut-like products, while Dunkin Donuts remained the go-to place for early morning coffee and perhaps a donut or two if you were hungry. Because of the way Krispy had branded itself and perhaps due to stock market short-sellers, it all came down like a house of cards, while Dunkin’s brand, tried and true, powered on.
In any case this Dunkin Donuts rebranding is a very worthy case study since it is a company that has certainly stood the test of time and become one of the most well-known brand names in Franchising history. Think on this.