By Veena Murali
The number one retailer of donuts in the United States is officially dropping donuts. Unlike the alarming publicity move of IHOP changing its name to IHOB, the new dropping of the word “Donuts” from “Dunkin’ Donuts” is here to stay. The popular breakfast branch will officially be changing its name to “Dunkin’” beginning in January of 2019. But if you’re a donut enthusiast, don’t get too worried – the sugary breakfast treats will still be sold and remain a core segment of the brand.
The company’s name change was motivated by efforts to place a greater emphasis on drinks, which make up 60% of total revenue. Donuts are no longer the most popular item sold by the brand due to health and wellness trends. However, Americans are still attracted to beverages sold by Dunkin, with coffee being a top selling product and future plans to expand its tea selection. Coffee also has a higher profit margin than other menu items, making it a crucial source of the company’s revenue and a valuable item to promote. The removal of the word “Donuts” suggests to customers that the chain should not only be known and visited for their donuts, but also their drinks.
Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman also emphasized the company’s plan to simplify its brand and build strong relationships with its customers. With ten menu items being cut and a smaller variety of donuts, Dunkin’ hopes to redirect itself in a fresh new direction that focuses on classic items already proven to be popular with customers. Weisman says the relationship the company has with its customers resembles a friendship, and customers should be able to be on a first-name basis with their friends. The name “Dunkin’” gives more of a friendly, casual, moniker vibe to the brand, which Dunkin’ hopes will help foster closer relationships between itself and its customers while refreshing the brand overall.
Dunkin’ is not the only company to implement a name change this year. While IHOP’s name change to IHOB, or International House of Burgers, was not legitimate, the publicity move still proved how large of an impact the name of a company can have. Weight Watchers changed its name to WW to refocus its image on the overall health and wellness journey instead of just weight. Michael Kors also changed its name to Capri Holdings in efforts to situate itself more into a luxury fashion house after its acquisition of Versace. Often times, companies are motivated to rebrand themselves through a name change so that they do not limit themselves to just one industry or one product. Companies also use name changes to breathe new life into their brands and indicate a new beginning, energy, and direction for themselves.
The name of a company is often the first thing we notice and plays a large role in the overall wellbeing of a business. Brand consultants are optimistic about Dunkin’s name change and believe it is a good move for the business. Many Americans have been calling the brand simply “Dunkin’” for years now, so the new simplified name will be natural to many customers. So the question remains, can a name change stop Americans from fulfilling their daily caffeine fix at an affordable and classic brand like Dunkin’ (Donuts)?