Dunkin' Donuts & Staying Relevant with Mobile

Succeeding in mobile commerce can be challenging when having to integrate the new with the tried and true.

Dunkin’ Brands was challenged with how to keep a 60-year-old iconic brand relevant to consumers today especially in light of traditional marketing still working.

At the MediaPost OMMA Mobile conference in New York today, John Costello, president, Global Marketing and Innovation at Dunkin Brands, suggested there’s a way to introduce leading edge mobile technologies as long as certain approaches are considered.

Recognizing that mobile is transformational, Costello suggested a few keys to stay relevant, noting that “technologies and tactics change, but principles don’t.”

One of the main approaches of Dunkin’ Donuts is to be agile for fear of being left behind, Costello said. This involves being honest about what’s working and what’s not. That follows the idea that hope is not a mobile strategy regarding what is successful.

“You have to change with the times to stay relevant,” said Costello.

For Dunkin’, this means differentiating itself to stay relevant. This was relatively straightforward for the company, whose overall theme is “how everyday folks who keep America running keep themselves running every day.”

The obvious play for mobile at Dunkin’ was the need to reach their customers wherever they are, with most now carrying smartphones.

Dunkin’s version of its ‘mobile-first’ approach is to use state-of-the art mobile technologies incorporated it into multiple consumer touch points but all linked to consumer needs.

One example Costello cited is how Dunkin’ Brand’s Baskin-Robbins facilitates mobile ordering of cakes for later in-store pickup.

The mobile efforts of Dunkin’ Donuts are well known in the market, including how consumers use mobile payments via the Dunkin’ Donuts app as well as to purchase and send digital gift card via the app, among other features.

As in other leading edge mobile implementations, Dunkin’ Donuts leverages big data for to create personalized experiences, though Costello noted that big data is not a strategy.

Much like Starbucks, the approach of Dunkin’ Donuts is to seamlessly segue mobile innovations like payments without jarring customers into radically new either/or situations.

Much of what Costello spoke of involve timing, and in the case of Dunkin’ the general approach is to get involved in mobile transformations early.

Being early in mobile allows learning and provides customer insights for the evolution of next steps.

Being late provides a business with none of that. And the tried and true will not work forever.

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