Do-Nut Go Changing

Posted August 28, 2017 by

The famous doughnut retailer is thinking about dropping the “Donut’s.” Do not worry you will still be able to get your favorite glazed or strawberry frosted treats and coffee, as only the second part of Dunkin Donuts’ name is potentially going away (and none of their tasty menu items). This should not come as a surprise, as the coffee chain has been using the famous slogan, “America runs on Dunkin’” for years.

Dunkin’ Donuts said in a statement that “While we remain the number one retailer of donuts in the country, as part of our efforts to reinforce that Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage-led Brand and coffee leader, we will be testing signage in a few locations that refer to the Brand simply as “Dunkin.” They have begun testing the name in one Pasadena, CA location and are planning to expand to more west coast stores in the next months.

Dunkin’ is not the first retailer to try this, in fact the shortening of names is something that has been around for a while. Remember when Domino’s was Domino’s Pizza? In 2012 the pizza chain decided to drop the “Pizza” in a huge effort to rebrand. The chain was failing in the eyes of its customers and was consistently rated as one of the worst pizza places with a stock price that fell to only $8.76 per share. In this instance, the name drop helped to create a stronger Brand, as the chain wanted its audience to be aware of their other offerings and move away from their old negative connotation. Along with the name change the Company redesigned their stores, made and advertised a new pizza recipe, and created new advertising campaigns revolving around the rebrand. Overall the rebrand was a huge success for Domino’s and today they are the second largest pizza chain in the world with a share price approaching $190.

Do you remember The Shack? Chances are you probably do not, as The Shack was a failed attempt by Radio Shack to shorten their name. Unlike Domino’s and now Dunkin’, they did not plan accordingly for their name change. If anything, it was a last-ditch attempt to stay relevant as huge competitors, like Apple, Dell, and IBM took over the tech industry. This left Radio Shack scrambling to find a way back into the game. By changing their name they hoped to appeal to a younger demographic and to avoid sounding dated, as no one really used radios anymore. However, this completely alienated the older generation that was still loyal to the tech retailer and they ended up losing more business, resulting in a bankruptcy. Today Radio Shack is closing hundreds of stores nationwide and is struggling to keep the doors open.

There have been clear success stories with the shortening of names but preparation is key. Without a clear and proper introduction of the name to your audience, everything can fall apart. The Shack is a perfect example of that, as they failed to gauge who their products appealed to and the needs of their audience. They tried to appeal to a younger demographic that they never really had and lost their older demographic because of it.

Hoping to imitate the success of Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts is preparing their audience for a change. Dunkin’ is taking the time to test the name before rolling it out to all stores, and has the benefit of unofficially using their truncated name in some instances for years. Dunkin’ dropping the ‘Donuts’ is a move that should drive success for the Brand, as long as they continue to take the necessary steps to make sure their customers are on the same page. There is no reason for the Company to not drop the ‘Donuts’ as long as no real doughnuts are harmed in the process.


B2B | B2C | Food | Naming | Rebrand

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