Dunkin’ Donuts is a beverage company known for its coffee as well as baked goods and founded by Bill Rosenberg in 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts. The owner’s goal was to “make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores” (Dunkin’ Brands, 2014). It remains in the forefront of the company’s mission nowadays. It is based out of Canton, Massachusetts, and has over 11,300 stores in 36 different countries. Brand Keys have ranked Dunkin’ number one nine years in a row in the “coffee category” for their customer loyalty.
Dunkin’ Donuts uses social media to target a wide audience. Since its products are something that almost anyone appreciates and enjoys, the posts are very gender and age neutral. The posts strive to be timely and reflect aspects such as holidays and seasons. They use short yet visually appealing videos as well as bright colorful photos in almost every post on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Dunkin’ also utilizes Twitter to reply to both good and bad customer feedback quickly responding to any issues or complaints.
While Dunkin’ does a good job in pushing engaging alluring media into the feeds of their followers, they could improve their social media strategy by launching more cohesively planned campaigns. For example, instead of passively waiting for the posts to pop up in their feeds, they could put out a mini video series with a new episode every few days. Consequently, the audience may stay intrigued with the company and actually search for their social media pages. In addition, they could have a series of competitions for their audiences through social media platforms, which result in a promotion and the customer being featured on their site and social media pages.
Dunkin’ Donuts loses the competition to Starbucks in the presence on major social media platforms. Both companies post similar coffee and seasonally themed content but do this in a different way. Starbucks uses quick, engaging fun-fact quizzes that direct the audience back to their brand website. Dunkin’ Donuts prefers a quirky, up-beat approach often using capital letters, exclamation points, and word play. This makes the posts of the latter sound nosier than the ones of Starbucks. Therefore, Dunkin’ should review the style of its messages to make them more engaging and less annoying. However, Dunkin’ Donuts holds the second ranking after Starbucks, which means that the company’s social media strategy is chosen correctly (Team eValue, 2015).
Summary of Social Media Campaign
The objective of the social media campaign is to engage the audience in a way that drives people to become more interactive and conversational and to become creators on the ladder of engagement. Since the company is asking people to buy specific donuts and post about them in order to both support a charity and potentially win a prize, it is forcing them to create content, which promotes its brand. The key message of the company’s campaign is demonstrating the audience that Dunkin’ Donuts is a people-focused company. This is shown through involving the charity organizations in the event and encouraging the ordinary followers in the context. The plan relates to the current company’s strategy because Dunkin’ Donuts claims that it is a people-focused organization, which cares not only about own profits but also about the community.
Introduction & Overall Analysis
Dunkin’ Donuts uses Instagram to communicate with the consumers and fans of the brand. The company encourages them to tell stories and interact with it in Instagram. For example, this was evident during the 2013#mydynkib social media campaign. Its aim was to encourage fans to share their moments connected with Dunkin’ Donuts. Some of fans appeared in the company’s advertisements. The company’s marketing director states that the organization seeks to engage the customers through various sweepstakes, competitions, holidays occasions, etc. (Lavoie, 2015). For instance, Dunkin’ prepared a contest for the followers to decorate their cups and locate them on Instagram applying hashtag #DresseDD. Creators of the five best cups received $100 gift cards (Lavoie, 2015). Overall, the company’s Instagram strategy is not only engaging fans but also giving them unique and funny content, which could be interesting for them.
Dunkin’ Donuts primary uses Instagram to promote its messages to younger generation. The posts are designed in a funny way whereas it could be too boring for older users. It seeks to move its target fans up to the Ladder of Engagement from Spectators to Critics. Thereafter, Critics are moved to Creators. In particular, Spectators of Dunkin’ Donuts Instagram can view pictures and watch videos with the company’s products. They can also read comments of other fans. Critics are those followers that react to content of Dunkin’s way. For example, they can like some photos or videos of the company or add some comments. Creators make reposts and post their posts based on the company’s ideas. For example, the initiative for designing cups for Halloween allowed many users to move up to Creators (Figure 1). However, the engagement ratio of Dunkin’ Donuts is relatively low and reaches less than five percent (Lavoie, 2015). This means that despite a significant number of followers, the company has not managed to attract the fans. The last five posts gathered from 7,200 to 12,6K likes and 25, 714 comments. Overall, the company creates enough posts to make followers remember about it but without bothering them too much. The total number of the posts is 745. To measure the effectiveness of the messaging strategy, the time-frame was chosen. In particular, it was decided to observe the posts made from July to November 2015. The methodology used is observation of the posts during the period.
Evaluation of Effectiveness
The company’s posts have different effectiveness. Sometimes, the post collects only twenty-five comments whereas there are posts with few hundreds of comments. To target the audience, Dunkin’ Donuts uses textual and visual elements. For example, the post about Coolatta contains the colorful image of the drink (Figure 2). The followers can enjoy the view of the drink on the background of the “sea,” which clearly attracts their attention and makes them think about purchasing Dunkin’ Donuts products. Apart from the bright image, the company uses the attractive caption. It states, “We see cookies on the horizon.” This post also has the hashtag of the product.
The post for October 2015 includes the beautiful image of fall (17,409 likes, 112 comments). The followers can see the field in the fall, the cup of latte, and the hands of two people (Figure 3). This post creates romantic thoughts in the heads of the followers. Another specific feature of the company’s posts is creating different kinds of emotions for the products. In the first case, the followers can feel the joy of holidays whereas in the latter, they could enjoy romantic emotions. Both the images and captions of posts reflect the varieties of emotions.
In general, the text evaluation reveals that the half of posts indicate the brand name (through hashtags or in comments). A product name was indicated five times, particularly there were references to iced coffee, hot chocolate, Coolatta, and to donuts. The company stopped using call-to-actions verbs. Instead, Dunkin’ Donuts started to apply short intriguing captions; for example, “We see cookies on the horizon” or “Fall, we like you a latte.” Eight out of twelve posts indicated seasons or holidays such as Thanksgiving Day, Halloween, Christmas, Sunday, and fall. Most of posts have a positive frame. They encourage viewers to share stories and photos, purchase products and stay together with Dunkin’ Donuts.
The visual analysis of the company’s posts demonstrates that Dunkin’ Donuts prefers using pictures (eleven out of twelve). The video appears only in one post. The company normally uses images of people, activities and food. In most of the cases, the faces are not shown, only hands or torso. The list of activities includes baking, bicycling and swimming. Food can be portrayed without images of people or other details (Figure 4). Three images involve emotional appeal. Thus, the followers can feel the fear due to not having a donut, nostalgia for mom’s cooking or happiness due to having Dunkin’ Donuts products. All the posts are friendly. To achieve this effect, the company applies both textual and visual tools such as funny comments, video of prank, or images of Lincoln and Washington created from coffee beans). The original hashtags allow creating an original environment of followers. Use of seasons and holidays in posts helps making content that earns people’s attention (Figure 5). Moreover, customers start associating some products with specific seasons. For example, Coolatta becomes a summer product whereas Hot Chocolate is a product of fall.
Concerning weaknesses, Instagram of Dunkin’ Donuts pays an insignificant attention to its followers in the posts. Thus, the posts do not contain many photos of customers. There are only two posts with human faces to promote the company’s products. Dunkin’ Donuts claims that it is the people-focused company; therefore, it looks strange that it does not demonstrate the fans in the content.
The posts of Dunkin’ Donuts on Instagram take advantage of the affordances of the platform. The photos look attractive, but they are not too detailed; and this makes it convenient to view them on this social media platform. Using hashtags helps to gain new followers. Some of messages have the links to the company’s official website, which increases the number of visitors. Followers are also encouraged to make personal pictures with the company’s products and add specific hashtags. For example, one of the last contests was about coffee moments during holidays (Figure 1).
The main recommendation for Dunkin’s Donuts is using the faces of fans for the posts. This would respond the company’s strategy of being people-focused organization. Customers would feel to be important for the brand. Furthermore, the company needs to add more creativity in its posts. Currently, the posts are normally linked with certain seasons and holidays or only promote products. Instead, there is a lack of opportunities where followers can become Creators. The company should increase the number of posts where the fans are encouraged to create something and share with others. This would allow engaging of more people. Moreover, the analysis of the posts reveals that Dunkin’ Donuts does not respond to the negative comments on a regular basis. This deteriorates the brand image of the company. Therefore, the organization should increase the responsiveness to customers’ opinions. However, the company has been increasing the number of its followers, which means that its posts are effective (Figure 6).
There will be three kinds of posts on Instagram about Super Bowl XIX. The first kind of posts will be used as an announcement for the competition. They are necessary to gain the attention of the target audience. For example, there will be the post explaining the rules of the contest. It should explain the followers that half of the sales of the special donuts will be donated to charity organization supported by the team. This could be made through the video. It is easier to communicate the rules though this instrument. Moreover, there will be numerous colorful pictures with the special donuts. The posts should have hashtags and references to the company’s website where followers are encouraged to find more details concerning the contest.
Once the teams taking part in the Super Bowl are announced, Dunkin’ Donuts should start posting the messages with the names of the teams. For example, there could be a post where the team players participating in the Super Bowl hold the special donuts. This post should have a hashtag and reference to the company’s website. The team players are also encouraged to create messages with special donuts and hashtag of the event. This would allow engaging a greater number of people as well as transforming followers into Creators.
The third kind of post will contain the information about the winners of the contest. The specific attention should be paid to the grand prize. The winner could be located in the center of the photo with the special gift card. The gift card should be big enough in order for the followers to notice that the winner has unlimited Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts for a year.
Therefore, the posts will allow engaging with the followers during a continuous time starting from preparation to the context, during the event, and after the Super Bowl. The engagement will took place on the Instagram of Dunkin Donuts, but the followers will be constantly encouraged to share the information about the company’s initiative with their followers. The followers will be not only Spectators or Critics but also Creators. In particular, creating a message with prediction of the winning team and hashtag #DD (TEAMNAME) is an en example of the creative activity of the followers.
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Regarding metrics, the first post is mainly for engaging the followers as Spectators and Critics. They are expected to review the information about the contest and express their opinions. This will allow assessing the interest of the target audience in the event. The greater number of likes and comments is, the higher success of the post is. The second post is also expected to engage the followers as Creators. The fans and team players are encouraged to share the information about the contest through their posts using hashtags. Therefore, the number of likes, comments and fans’ posts will be evaluated. The third post with the grand prizewinner concerns engaging the followers as Spectators and Critics. They are expected to like the post and express their views on the personality of the winner.
Figure 1. The Example of “Halloween Contest”
Figure 2. The Example about Coolatta Drink
Figure 3. The “Fall” Example
Figure 4. The Example of Food Shown in the Posts
Figure 5. The Example of the Holiday Photo
Dunkin’ Donuts Instagram Followers
Figure 6. Dunkin’ Donuts Instagram Followers