Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dunkin Brands: Help Wanted - Conversational Marketing Visionary

In July 2006 I covered the Dunkin' Brands and Foghound search for a unified digital marketing strategy:

It used to be all about "Time to make the donuts", 31 flavors, and great sandwiches, but this week the Dunkin' Brands announced their search for an agency that could bring a unified digital front to their campaigns spanning breakfast, lunch and dessert.

This new "agency campaign" is headed up by the Foghound Corporation and Lois Kelly, best known for her book, Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Conversational Marketing. Kelly mentions the need for a leading agency with experience in big retail brands and the ability to handle strategy, creative work, and also back-end operations including e-commerce engines, analytics, and databases. So for all those shops that would love a little donut hole morsel, better get your thinking caps on and setup your own campaign to generate some buzz to grab the attention of Foghound and Dunkin' Brands.

In February 2007, they announced they had chosen Studiocom Interactive based on the following:

"Our experience in engaging younger consumers with brands online, and our ideas for positioning Dunkin' with its present and future customers was, in the end, the determining factor in their decision," noted Studiocom President, Carlos Pimenta.

So I decided to do some more research and check up on Carlos and Dunkin to see how they were doing. With an acquisition in 2005 by Bain Capital Partners and a plan to add 1,000 new Dunkin Donuts locations and 600 Baskin Robbins, I can see why they want to create better conversations with a younger audience. As the current generation graduates from college and goes onto their first career, makes their first investment or continues onto grad school; there is a need to be filled and that need is fresh, young entrepreneurs who want their own Dunkin brand franchise!

So how has the new agency been doing, let's look at how they are crafting their conversations online. Here is a video ad that is on Youtube. It doesn't look as if it was placed there by Dunkin or Studiocom, but it's kind of funny:

Next, they have launched a new website called My Iced Coffee that allows travelers to plan road trips and map its stores along the way in all 33 states where it has shops. Dunkin' partnered with online mapping company MapQuest to power the site, which also features trip-planning advice and instant-win games with prizes of $100 gas cards, JetBlue airline tickets, and global-positioning systems. Uhm ... yeah. I visited the site and there aren't any entries for Iced Coffee tales. The site is designed in Flash 9, which is slow on my home computer and they lost my attention after 35 seconds. Even better is when you do a search for "iced coffee" you don't get anything near Dunkin Donuts, but do you know who you do get???
Onto Facebook. I found a profile for Dunkin Donuts and some groups. These are the loyal youngens you need! Get in there and start cultivating the conversation, listen to them, engage them, put your marketing budget to good use. I'm interested in seeing what else they have up their sleeve for 2007-08, but it's late and we don't have Dunkin Donuts in San Diego so I can stay up all night. Line up them donut holes and make sure you're leveraging everything online has to offer.

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