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Dunkin’ Donuts balances mobile, traditional marketing to protect brand personality

The Dunkin’ executive’s “Is Mobile the First and Ultimate Storytelling Screen?” session looked at how the brand’s reliance on partners, such as its 16-year relationship with advertising company Hill Holliday, have helped it implement a mobile-centric approach that engages fans and followers in ongoing dialogues. Dunkin’s efforts reflect a desire to move the brand forward toward mobile while remaining true to its core values.

“Understand the core of who your brand is,” said John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation at Dunkin’ Donuts, Boston. “It’s very easy, particularly with the speed of mobile, to get caught up in the excitement of the technology and walk away from who you are.

“Dunkin’ is very much a regular brand for regular people, and while we’ve embraced mobile and are very much embracing a mobile driven marketing plan, we haven’t walked away from it. What we’ve learned is how people are interacting with us.”

Lessons learned
The Dunkin’ brand has leapt into mobile strategy carefully given its long-standing roots, and has since learned that balance is the key to successfully integrating mobile.

Furthermore, a multiscreen approach will make mobile efforts stronger, aiding to high ROI and engagement with a brand’s followers and fans.

To start this process, Dunkin’ had to first adapt to mobile by engaging with its customers where they are. By remaining authentic to its brand, Dunkin’ attempted mobile in a way to differentiate itself from its competitors.

The brand also thought on a long-term basis. It knew investing in mobile innovations should not be approached with short-term goals.

While technology is such a focus point in today’s marketing world, Dunkin’s Mr. Costello believes the key to mobile strategy success is not technology, but rather for a brand to remember what it is. If a brand sticks to its mission statement, it can more effectively integrate mobile that leads to success and presence in a modern world.

Dunkin’ acclaims itself for being a fun brand in consumer-facing ways but also in its approach towards mobile. Mr. Costello believes mobile is always a risk worth taking.

While its strategy and inner corporate structure has changed to reflect innovations in the mobile world, its personality as a brand remains the same.

The Dunkin’ brand aims to be authentic and down-to-earth.

Mobile-centric efforts
Dunkin’ Donuts’ recent announcement of a mobile-ordering test supports the brand’s ongoing efforts to expand its menu by encouraging customers to try new items without having to wait in line.

While the preparation of a regular cream and sugar may not cause a line to form, Dunkin’ wants to make it exceptionally easy for customers to try its many breakfast items. Mobile ordering could encourage customers to place larger orders by preventing the need to wait in line (see story).

With a 3.6 percent coupon redemption rate for a recent mobile coupon campaign targeting competitors’ customers in Providence, RI, Dunkin’ Donuts has been expanding the program to new markets.

Earlier this year, Dunkin’ Donuts rolled out the program to test the effectiveness of leveraging geofencing around competitors’ locations coupled with behavioral targeting to deliver coupons on mobile devices. The results were promising, with 36 percent of those who clicked on the offer taking some secondary action, 18 percent of these saving the coupon and 3.6 percent of secondary actions resulting in a redeemed coupon (see story).

Dunkin believes the idea of mobile marketing is not as complex as it is thought to be.

“It’s not about the technology,” Mr. Costello said. “It’s really about asking yourself, ‘Who is your brand?’

“We’re under pressure [as marketers] to generate weekly, monthly and quarterly results,” he said. “What we’ve found at Dunkin’ is that we really need to look through the windshield instead of the rearview mirror.

“There is real synergy between traditional and mobile marketing.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York