Dunkin’: Rebanding Into a Beverage-Led Retailer

Coffee, for most people, is the soothing cup of brew that brightens up his or her day. Just from the aroma of the coffee beans can instantly put a smile on someone’s face. Coffee consumption has been a very common trend in recent years, especially America. Annual surveys provided by the National Coffee Association and the Specialty Coffee Association of America show that 50% of the U.S. population (about 150 million Americans) drink coffee related beverages ranging from espresso beverages, such as cappuccinos and lattes to iced cold coffees like cold brew. In 2017, it was recorded that specialty coffee sales were increasing by 20% per year.

Dunkin’ Donuts classifies itself as a quick service restaurant company. In 2016, Dunkin’ Brands Inc. ranked second in market share of 21.9% in the U.S. coffee shop market. In light of the growing coffee consumption in America, Dunkin’ Donuts announced on September 25th, that the company would officially be renaming itself as solely “Dunkin’.”

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The company’s decision reflects its goal in increasing emphasis on its coffee and other drinks. Although the restaurant still plans to make and sell doughnuts, this name change further highlights its move towards a “beverage-led” retailer. The rebranding will officially take place beginning January 2019 with the “Dunkin” logo appearing on signs, napkins, and boxes in U.S. stores. International stores will eventually adopt the name change following January.

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This well-known coffee chain has been around for 68 years and Dunkin’ Donuts intends to keep the familiar round font and its distinctive orange-and-pink color scheme. Another reason behind the name change is in part to stay relevant to younger customers. They also recognize the growing trend in eating healthier, as well as coffee having a high profit margin because of the popularity of caffeinated beverages.

Ultimately, the change to ‘Dunkin’” represents a long-term goal of repositioning. Headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts, Dunkin’ Donuts tested the name “Dunkin” by altering their signs in about “30 Boston-area locations and 20 other shops nationwide” last year. The first store to have the “Dunkin” logo on the building was in Quincy, Massachusetts. Along with the new “Dunkin’” sign, the Quincy restaurant unveiled a new concept store that “includes digital kiosks, an expanded Grab & Go section…[and] ice tea, coffee, cold brew [such as nitro cold brew] on tap.” The employees would also be wearing new uniforms with slogans that read, “Fueled by Positive Energy,” and “Drink Coffee. Be Awesome.” David Hoffmann, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, made a statement in regard to their repositioning: “The launch of our next generation concept store marks one of the most important moments in Dunkin’ Donuts growth as an on-the-go, beverage-led brand.”

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New Dunkin’ sign in Quincy, Massachusetts
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New tea, coffee, and cold brew on tap in Dunkin’ Donuts’ Quincy concept store

Dunkin’ Donuts believes that its new concept store will modernize the customer experience by making the process of ordering quicker. They also intend to implement a mobile order drive-through lane and instead of placing baked goods in bins behind the register, to have them within arm’s reach of guests inside a glass case. The new concept store also has the benefit of being tailored based on difference in locations. A store in an urban environment will most likely utilize a pickup section for mobile orders and do without a drive-thru. The shorter name also reflects this more streamlined concept of being modern, simple, and fast.

Being that Dunkin’ Donuts is the eighth-largest fast food restaurant chain by number of locations in the world (11,300), it does not come as a shock that many consumers have heard of the news and reacted accordingly. There has been a slew of mixed reactions towards Dunkin’ Donuts plan to change their name. Many consumers voiced their attitudes and concerns toward the rebranding on Twitter. People believe that “Donuts” is an important part of the company and just prefer there to be no change at all. One twitter user, Bob Loblaw tweeted, “Dunkin Donuts without the “Donuts” is like renaming Taco Bell just “Bell” or Burger King just “King.” On the other hand, other Dunkin’ Donuts lovers are not bothered with the name change since they have referred to the company as “Dunkin’” anyway in their daily lives. Other common nicknames for the beloved chain include, “Dunks,” “Dunkies,” and “DD.”

With over 8,500 restaurants in the U.S., it is very likely to find a Dunkin’ Donuts in most college campuses. The University of Pittsburgh has its very own Dunkin’ Donuts in the center of campus. This location is very popular with there usually being a line everyday of customers that extends past the door to outside. It will be interesting to see if our beloved coffee place will redesign their floor layout to resemble the concept store in Quincy. In less than 2.5 months, Pitt will observe the the store sign without the “Donuts” part in the name.

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Dunkin’ Donuts on Forbes Ave on the University of Pittsburgh campus taken by Megan Sitlinger

There have been many other instances in which companies altered their name to being less product-specific and expand their brand identify. In 2011, Starbucks Coffee was shortened to Starbucks to reposition themselves as more than just a coffee restaurant. Burlington Coat Factory rebranded itself to Burlington to emphasize the sale of other merchandise other than coats. Around the same time Dunkin’ Donuts announced their name change, Weight Watchers also revealed on September 24th that they will be changing their name to “WW.” After 50 years, Weight Watchers believes this brand identity will better reflect its new mission to focus less on dieting and more on overall health and wellness.

It is fascinating to witness a well-known company reposition itself from was once a heavily focused doughnut store towards a more beverage-led restaurant. There will most likely be a greater assortment of drink options in the future. With Dunkin’ positioning themselves more towards drinks and Starbucks declaring the elimination of single-use plastic straws in its stores by 2020, it would not be surprising to see Dunkin’ create different types of cups made from more biodegradable material in the future. The original Dunkin’ Donuts store opened up in 1950 and is about a mile away from the Quincy, Massachusetts concept store. This revolutionary chain continues to modernize its brand and I do not see any halt in their efforts any time soon.

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The Original Dunkin’ Donuts Store











A Closer Look Into One of the NHL’s Best Marketing Strategies

If you live in or around Pittsburgh, it’s likely you’ve heard of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but have you ever thought about the marketing strategy behind the Penguins organization? Does a sports team in Pittsburgh even really need a marketing strategy? Well, they do. To keep growing its fan base, the Penguins have had to continually evolve their marketing campaigns.

In 2007, the Penguins began targeting their fans through mobile technology when they worked in collaboration with Vibe Marketing Group. Both parties worked to create the Pens Mobile Club(1), which has, since 2010, expanded into the Pens App. The creation and promotion of the Pens Mobile Club increased the membership of their club from approximately 14,000 members to 74,000 members(1). The Pens App has many features, including updates throughout the game and Game Day Previews. Videos and articles fill the home page of the app covering topics from “Verizon Coach’s Corner” to “Pet Calendar Shoot.” Through the app, fans can also sign up for the Pens Pass Last Minute Ticket Club. Once signed up, fans receive a text message when last minute tickets, including playoff games, are available in the FedEx Level or the Giant Eagle/Snapple Level. App users also have access to podcasts, Fan Central, and players’ stats throughout the season. The app is free and available to download for iPhone and Android users by searching “Pittsburgh Penguins” in the app store.

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Fast forward to 2010, the Penguins organization teamed up with Gatesman, Marmion, Drake, and Dave, Inc. to restructure its marketing campaigns(2). Coming out of the 2009-10 season, the Penguins finished fourth place in the Eastern Conference. This was an upsetting outcome based on the Penguins winning the 2008-09 Stanley Cup. To continue to incorporate the fans and continue to build upon their foundation, the Penguins presented their newest slogan “Destiny Has A New Home”(2).  An additional tie-in to this slogan, the Penguins were finding a new home in the Consol Energy Center (now PPG Paints Arena) at the beginning of the 2010 season. This move into a more modern arena from Mellon Arena (also known as the Igloo)  aided the Penguins in being able to be more technological when it came to marketing strategies and fan engagement. The marketing slogan helped to bring focus to this change, but also show the fans the continued commitment to excellence they came to expect of the Penguins.

The Penguins marketing team seems to identify early on what moves will be needed to keep up with current marketing strategies. Since 2010, and especially in the last three years, there has been an increase in the Penguins social media content becoming more geared towards fan interactions. No longer are its posts strictly related to the score of the game or other game-related information. The organization tends to focus on off-ice accomplishments and interactions more so in their social media – which helps grow that connection between fans and the organization. A prime example where the organization builds on previous posts made – last season the Penguins posted about the players’ love of Mario Kart. This season, the Penguins posted a video of Jake Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist playing a live-action game of Mario Kart. Matt Murray also announced yesterday that he will be making a $30 donation for every save he makes during the season as part of his “Saves MATTer” charity program(3). If this program would have been implemented last season, he would have donated over $38,000 to youth organizations(3). If you talk to fans, they feel like part of the Penguin’s family. Players are called by their first names and nicknames in casual conversation (i.e. Sid the Kid, Geno) and if you didn’t know better, you would think these fans were neighbors with the players. The Penguins really do a fantastic job of creating that connection between fans and players and having it be a positive experience for all involved.


Even with the major overhaul in 2010, the Penguins continue to improve their interactions with their fans going into the 2018-19 season. This season, the Penguins are doing away with PensPoints and looking to launch a new program in November, the Pens Instant Win Program. Very little is known about this program because the organization is not relaying any information to the public at the moment.  

The Penguins are also active on multiple social media platforms, including Pinterest and Facebook. Although their Pinterest account hasn’t been updated for the 2018-19 season, fans can still follow many boards that include#PensValentines, Wedding on Ice, and Holiday HapPENings. The Penguins also have a fan interaction board for pets.


While creating content on multiple platforms, the Penguins seem to post the most content on their Twitter profile. The Penguins use this platform to interact with fans, as well as give game updates, practice updates, etc., which are typically in real time, as well as posting off-ice content. For example, I tweeted the Penguins and in less than 30 minutes, they had responded. You can also find many of the Penguins staff tweeting about behind the scenes information, like a sneak peek at Matt Murray’s mask before the preseason started (which garnered 619 Retweets and 4,070 likes) and their take on current happenings in the hockey community.  Two of the best examples for incorporating off-ice accomplishments into the Penguins marketing are posts about an article on Jake Guentzel’s rise to fame and Bryan Domoulin’s “hat trick of summers.” Plus, to no one’s surprise, a big “Happy Birthday” to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together received 6,412 Retweets and 21,246 Likes. Their most recent high impact tweet was their reaction to the new Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, with over 15,000 Likes. The Penguins Snapchat and Instagram stories are great for behind the scenes look at warm-ups, practices, and time with the players – on and off the ice.

The Pittsburgh Penguins marketing strategy is much like its team; it has evolved through the years. It has found new ways to bring fans into the sport, just as it has brought new team members to the club. Yet it has maintained its loyal following, just as it has managed to maintain some of its key players, such as Mario Lemieux. It is easy to see how the Penguins tap into modern culture, while still looking back on great athletes that have passed through the organization, to include multiple generations of fans in the organization.

To date, the Penguins have a strong social media following and a solid fan base to lean on. However, to continue to bring new fans to the organization, the Penguins will have to maintain its current level of fan interaction through social media, as well as stay one step ahead of the current trends. When attempting to build the fan base, the mindset of listening to fans important, but the follow through with related actions is what will keep the Penguins at the forefront of many hockey fans’ minds. The KeyBank Challenge videos posted throughout the season seem to be a major selling point to fans who want to feel like they are getting to know the players more personally. This personal connection will not only help maintain the current fan base, but will continue to bring in more fans as the Penguins progress through the 2018-19 season.



  1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pittsburgh-penguins-score-on-marketing-power-play-with-vibes-media-103434534.html
  2. https://www.nhl.com/penguins/news/pens-launch-new-marketing-campaign/c-537777
  3. https://www.nhl.com/penguins/news/matt-murray-charity-program/c-300581156

Nike Demonstrates Social Consciousness in Latest Ad Campaign

Nike has long been one of the most recognizable American companies and is currently the most valuable sports brand in the world. The firm has cemented its market share through innovative advertising campaigns and partnerships with professional athletes. Nike has produced Michael Jordan’s iconic Air Jordan line since 1984, catapulting the company to success and other prominent signings like Lebron James, Tiger Woods, and Serena Williams. These partnerships with star athletes across various sports have become the cornerstone for their continuous success in the sportswear market.

Additionally, Nike has employed various advertising campaigns throughout its history. Nike’s best campaign, and one of the more successful advertising plans of the last 30 years, is the “Just Do It” slogan. The motto was coined in 1988 and by 1998 Nike had already increased its market share in the athletic shoes industry from 18% to 43%.The campaign is still in use today because of its effectiveness, and the 30thanniversary is being celebrated this year. With this anniversary, Nike has decided to bet the farm this year with a campaign that has already sparked mass outrage and public unapproved. Nike has signed another professional athlete to star in the latest edition of the “Just Do It” campaign, yet this person has been the center of controversy for nearly two years.

He is Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who has not played a professional game since he began protesting the oppression of African-Americans by kneeling during the singing of the national anthem. His protests have long been one of the most controversial stories in all of sports and in the United States. The issue is one of the most polarizing, with many taking sides on whether it is right to not stand for our country’s national anthem. President Trump and many others have disapproved of Kaepernick’s protest, saying that it shows disrespect to cops and soldiers that serve our country by putting their lives on the line for the flag and freedom. However, Kaepernick has inspired plenty of his peers, as numerous athletes across multiple sports have knelt in protest during the anthem at their matches. Kaepernick was never signed to a team after the 2016 season, which he argues is collusion between the NFL owners, yet plenty of other NFL players continued his protests in lieu of his absence. The television ratings for the NFL subsequently dropped, causing President Trump and others to call for the NFL to put an end to the protests.

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Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem before a San Francisco 49ers game.

Despite the declining ratings, protests did not stop. Colin Kaepernick is still without a job, but his activism has not stopped. He is still a leading force of change and a public figure many people admire or hate. He is one of the most polarizing people of today. And he is now the face of Nike’s latest “Just Do It” anniversary campaign. With so much controversy and public outrage towards him, why would Nike make this move? Two main components come to mind: the globalization of Nike and an emotional appeal.

           Nike was created in the United States, but the company operates on a global scale. Although North America is the largest purchaser of Nike products, the rest of the world still accounts for over half of all revenue for Nike. Despite the NFL’s efforts in recent years to expand the sport outside of the United States, football is not a popular worldwide sport. NFL athletes are not as well recognized compared to soccer and cricket stars on the international stage. Because of this, Colin Kaepernick’s lack of professional athletic employment does not matter as much as it would to NFL fans in the United States who would much rather have great players star in the campaign, like Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr. Despite the opportunities to partner with more skilled players, Nike strategically chose to work with Kaepernick because of his protests and high-profile. Outside of the United States, Colin Kaepernick is seen as an athlete using his platform to promote positive change. He is a champion for civil rights and the fair treatment of people of color. People across the seas often perceive the US to be very racist, and for logical reasons. Seeing Nike choose a person of color fighting for a just cause as the lead for their “Just Do It” campaign might sway those outside of the US to purchase Nike over competitors like Adidas and Reebok. Additionally, there are plenty of people in the United States who also agree with Colin Kaepernick’s stance and would support Nike.

Nike’s online sales have increased 31% since the release of their new advertisements.

The company appealed to the emotional side of consumers with this choice. During the first ad released for the campaign, Kaepernick states “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” The video urges the viewer to act on their dreams while showcasing athletes with disabilities playing their sport of choice. “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy,” Kaepernick says, “ask if they’re crazy enough.” The ad is filled with emotional appeals to the viewer. Nike is succeeding in creating an association in the consumer’s mind that they are a socially conscious company. The slogan “Just Do It” is being directed towards the viewer’s dreams to make them have an emotional response to the advertisement. For such a drastic decision, Nike clearly demonstrated a well thought out and strategic plan in regards to the 30th anniversary campaign for the motto.  

In the week since the announcement, plenty has happened in regards to this campaign. Iconic Nike swooshes have been cut from socks, the President tweeted, Nike’s stock drastically dropped with the news, and online sales increased by 31%, causing to the stock price to rise back up to only ten cents below its price right before the announcement. It has been a rollercoaster of a week for the company, but it must have planned for this. Nike is the leader in its industry and would not have made such a polarizing political stance unless it knew the decision would pay off. The company recognized its global scale and decided to risk using Colin Kaepernick in order to benefit from the emotional appeal he would provide for many consumers. With this move, it will be interesting to see what the company does down the line in regards to political stances, and what its competitors will do in response.