No More Dunkin’ Your Donuts

While you might still be inclined to dip your donuts in your coffee, you will no longer be enticed to do so by the sign on the door. The rumors that have persisted for these past many months have come to pass. Dunkin’ Donuts is now, officially, only “Dunkin’.” Customers will not see the complete changeover until this coming January, when the new logo will appear on signs, boxes, cups, and napkins, but Dunkin’ is focused on getting the message out.

While donuts will still be on the menu, the brand hopes that consumers will get a different, broader message from the new moniker. Dunkin’s message is that “we serve more than just pastries,” and they hope to focus more on coffee and other drinks going forward.

While the change is happening in the States soon, the shift will be more gradual overseas. Eventually, though, Dunkin’ will ONLY be Dunkin’ across the company’s 12,500-plus stores.

The process, now, is to generate buy-in among the customer base. In recent years, Dunkin’ has focused hard on stealing some of the customer base from Starbucks and other coffee chains, and that means finding a way to appeal to younger consumers. That shift in market focus is one of the primary drivers for the change, according to the company.

Dunkin’ also announced that it would be adding dedicated mobile ordering lanes and reducing the size of its menu. Both of these moves are intended to appeal to a more mobile and convenience-driven consumer base. However, that’s not the only way Dunkin’ hopes to appeal to Millennial consumers.

According to a company press release, “Dropping ‘Donuts’ from our name officially puts the company on a first-name basis with customer… Come 2019, all the DD packaging and ads you know and love will just read ‘Dunkin’.”

And that was just the first time the company dropped the “first name basis” line. In a tweet following the official announcement, Dunkin’ offered this: “After 68 years of America running on Dunkin’, we’re moving to a first-name basis. Excited to be #BFFstatus with you…”

While Dunkin’ may be hoping their customers widely embrace the new #BFF status, some consumers are underwhelmed by the change. One tweeter suggested that dropping ‘Donuts’ may lead to brand confusion, saying ‘Dunkin’ is too close to ‘Duncan,’ which is a yo-yo, not a donut. Though, he added, they could cross-market ‘Duncan Yo-nuts.’

Others responded to the news with a collective “meh,” saying if they wanted donuts, they would keep thinking of the brand as ‘Dunkin’ Donuts,’ or they may not think about the change at all. This response – apathy – is likely the worst for Dunkin’. Sure, people hating on the brand change would be unpleasant, but it would keep people talking, which is the primary goal of announcing the move month in advance. But, if people look at the sign and shrug… that’s a major missed opportunity for a company hoping to absorb market share from another big brand.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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