Dunkin’ Donuts: From Grab-and-Go to Stay-and-Sip

Dunkin’ Donuts hopes to keep customers long after the morning rush by turning itself into a café-style store, reflecting competitors such as Starbucks, allowing costumers to sit, sip, and socialize.

The doughnut store, creating a jazz-like atmosphere in stores and on product packaging, hopes to see an increase in sales and gain more business, by focusing more on coffee. This shift in focus doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, when was the last time the company actually advertised their doughnuts?

Dunkin’ Donuts’ loyal followers may very well disagree with the new direction the company is taking, but this shouldn’t spark any significant change in the market. Customers will still be able to grab their coffee and sugary snack to go during their busy mornings. And, rather than sparking a new trend in businesses, Dunkin’ Donuts seems to be catching up.

Maybe Dunkin’ will be able to better compete with big-brother Starbucks, but most coffee-lovers have pledged their allegiance to certain vendors long ago. We’ll be watching to see if Dunkin’ Donuts draws in a younger, newer crowd of caffeine addicts with its shift

Commerce is Not a Dirty Word

Do you know the role of the US Department of Commerce? Do you know who the current Secretary of Commerce is? I could give you a high level summary of what the department is theoretically responsible for but there was no way I could have told you the current Secretary. (Its Rebecca Blank, the fifth individual to hold the role under Obama). But having looked it up on Wikipedia, I can now share with you, our readers, that the summary clearly states that the department is “concerned with business and industry”.


They are concerned? With what aspect are they concerned? Lets dig deeper. The department states its mission “to foster, promote and develop the foreign and domestic commerce.”

Wow. Again.

Maybe this is why commerce seems like such a a dirty word. No one really knows what it is. And we all know that our government is uniquely qualified to provide direct, transparent and honest information. So lets move away from the role of commerce at the federal government and talk about it as part of our every day life.

Commerce isn’t a dirty word. When we began using it as part of the TPN vernacular many people shied away from it. “Its too transactional.” “I don’t know how to explain that.” “It sounds too techy.” All legitimate issues. When we talk about the role that commerce plays for each and every consumer it does, and should, mean many things.

When we say commerce, we are referring to the way people shop and buy regardless of where or when that happens. Bored with this post? Hop over to Amazon and do a little shopping. We can wait. Reading this on your iPhone while you sit at an art festival selling your life’s work? If so you probably have Square plugged in. That digital camera you just bought? I bet you asked your Facebook friends for reviews before you bought it.

We believe that more than ever before, commerce happens differently and each of these examples, is commerce….happening.  BazaarVoice was the first company to recognize this insight – that people wanted to shop differently – and they built a platform that easily enabled ratings and reviews and allowed it to be imbedded in almost every commerce enabled website. That meant people could see what other people thought of the product they were about to buy before they bought it.

Seemed like a small thing at first. But now there are deal comparison sites, QR codes, digital screen at shelf, content networks in store, show-rooming and app upon app that let people share. All of these elements, and more, allow people to be influenced in what and how they buy. That’s really all commerce is, the how and why we buy things every day. Brands what you to love them, as our CEO says, like “a best friend”. Retailers/eTailers want you to pick them when its time to buy. Shoppers want to tell people about what they bought.

All of this is commerce and, admittedly, there are a lot of moving parts. With the right method, however, brands can find a clean way to be successful. Clean. Not dirty.

The Store Of The Future, Today?

AT&T has launched a new flagship store in Chicago that is taking the lead in bringing digital innovation to brick & mortar retail. Adweek details the changes from a typical shopping experience:

The highly stylized space, which opened last fall, looks more like an art museum than a store, but it’s hardly a bore—there’s plenty of digital eye candy competing for [the customer’s] attention as he waits, including an 18-foot video wall equipped with motion-sensory software on which a couple of kids are playing a game.
He, like most who walk through these doors, is seriously wowed by the space, but, he says, “More than anything, I appreciate the hands-on help.”
Call it the Appleization of brick and mortar, where retailers from Michael Kors to Staples to Pep Boys are dazzling consumers with the futuristic in-store shopping experience the House That Jobs Built gave rise to. In fact, a decade ago and just a few blocks from the AT&T flagship, Apple opened its own gleaming, digitized space on the Magnificent Mile—but Apple is no longer the coolest kid on the block. Today, that distinction belongs to AT&T—though there’s plenty of competition from the likes of Nike and Burberry, which have unveiled souped-up stores here in recent months, as well as Apple, which, buzz has it, is prepping its own overhaul.

Forward thinking brands are already starting to overhaul at least a few of their locations with the latest and greatest gadgetry, but so far it’s been mainly smaller, boutique type retailers. It will be interesting to see who is the first “big box” chain to pull the trigger on such an overhaul, and if it puts them into the lead amongst their competitors. Eventually, though, these types of in-store services will be the bar for entry to all retailers if they want to stave off irrelevancy in the fight against online sales.

What’s In A Name?

Or more to the point, what’s in a brand name? As a marketing experiment with real world consequences, we’re about to find out when Hostess Brands returns out of bankruptcy with a new owner in August 2013. When Hostess first closed their bakeries last November, connoisseurs of baked dessert goods unleashed much sound and fury at the thought of their beloved Hostess Twinkies going away forever. And as the bankruptcy hearings dragged on, the stores shelves filled the gap left in Hostess’ absence with breads and other treats. Consumers frantically went on eBay to find the last boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, because Hostess so thoroughly owned the category that there were no direct equivalents available.

But nature abhors a vacuum, and now other companies have rushed to fill the gap, rapidly producing their own knock-offs of iconic Hostess items to occupy the spaces that were once filled by those well-known brand names. With shelves now filled with alternatives, Hostess has emerged from bankruptcy auction and plan on resuming production shortly:

Twinkies will hit store shelves nationally by late July, Michael Cramer, executive vice president of Hostess Brands LLC told NBC News on Thursday. “We expect to be making and selling in July,” he said. “Probably the later half of the month before the product hits the stores.”

All of the classic Hostess snack brands will return, some making their return in August and September. Hostess Donettes and some of the snack cakes will be among the first to return. And “Twinkies for sure,” Cramer said.

In November, all 36 Hostess Brands, Inc., plants shut down after an extended stand-off with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. That Hostess company has almost completely wound down its operations, selling its assets in pieces. The bulk of the Hostess Snacks brands the public knows best — Twinkies, Cup Cakes, Ho Hos, Zingers, Ding Dongs and Suzy Q’s — were purchased in April for $410 million by hedge funds Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.

And so we’ll now get to see in real time what exactly a brand name is worth. The usurper products will not willingly relinquish shelf space to Hostess, and the consumer will now have a choice for each item… in many cases a cheaper choice that tastes similar if not identical to the Twinkie/Ding Dong/Ho-Ho that abandoned them in their hour of need. Will consumers really pay more solely for a name? Or maybe Hostess will find that their comeback doesn’t taste quite so sweet after all.

Marketing + Technology

A few weeks back I was lucky enough to attend the kickoff event for Internet Week New York, a week-long celebration of New York’s internet and tech industry, titled Marketing + Technology: The Rise of CMO-CIO Alignment. The event focused not just on how technology was changing the way brands and advertisers market their goods and services, but also how it is fundamentally changing the internal org-chart. Below are just a couple hot trends and how they are affecting the marketing and agency world.

1) The Marketing and IT departments have to be more integrated. The projection is that they could become one in the sameWhy? One reason, the increasing importance of social and digital marketing to most advertisers means even more “big data” available.  The ability to analyze and draw actionable insights quickly requires the resources of IT and technology partners. The largest manufacturers will leverage in-house IT groups, but many mid-sized companies will look to out-source this expertise. It is very possible that the hottest new agency roles could be programmers and data analysts to help support the grow tech needs of brand management and shopper marketers.

2) Eduardo Conrado, SVP of Marketing & IT with Motorola Solutions, made the point that it’s time to update the traditional 4P’s of marketing.  Motorola prefers to think in terms of S.A.V.E.

4ps to SAVE

What is increasingly important to marketers, regardless of B2C or B2B, is Access. Technology has changed everyone’s access. Smart phones make us accessible to our professional and social networks 24/7; on-line collaboration tools have made it easier for people in different cities, states, or countries to easily connect and collaborate; we’re even accessible at 30,000 feet! (thank you Go-Go Inflight!). This increased access through technology means marketers have new avenues to connect with consumers along their purchase journey. None of this is groundbreaking, but just think, mobile or Facebook advertising was not a “norm” 5-10 years ago. Understanding the technology shoppers and consumers possess along their journey helps us discover new and innovative ways to add value or simplify their purchase journey.

3) Programmatic Media Buying is the new buzzword and a growing trend. Integrating data into digital media planning and targeting isn’t new, but it continues to advance and get even smarter and more sophisticated. Programmatic Buying is the newest and hottest trend on this scene. Leading industry expert IDC has projected that programmatic buying will grow at 53% per year in the United States between 2011 and 2016. So what is programmatic buying?  At the highest level, it is the ability to use multiple (almost unlimited) data sources to serve up ads, to a single individual who meets your criteria, through Real Time Bidding on open ad exchanges, often at a healthy discount. The implications for marketers are important. Programmatic buying offers the promise of a more cost effective way, to reach as niche a target as required – minimizing media “waste”.  Interested in learning a bit more?  Read some of the leaders in this space answer the question of “what is programmatic buying” here.