What makes a brand?
The low-cost leader, healthy choices, socially responsible—these are all distinct ways of branding that distinguish a company, product, service, or concept from its competitors. As you read those phrases, what companies came to mind?
For example, Coinstar kiosks make it easy to turn coins into cash. Now they sell bitcoin (at your local grocery store, no less). That’s an on-brand, innovative look to the future. Major League Baseball pulling the all-star game out of Atlanta? In the context of baseball, hotdogs and apple pie—certainly voting rights would fit into “brand America.”
But Avocado Toast at Dunkin Donuts? Makes you want to sing that old Sesame Street ditty “one of these things is not like the other…”
Dunkin Donuts and Avocado Toast
Dunkin Donuts debuted its new avocado toast on February 24. They describe it as a creamy, all natural, four-ingredient avocado spread on a slice of sourdough bread. It’s clearly a blatant appeal to stylish millennials. In fact, self-described millennial eatthis.com writer and avocado toast enthusiast Julia Guerra affirms: “I mean, would I be a true, #basic millennial if I didn’t (try it)?” she asks.
On the surface the new product seems like an anomaly. Their press release, however, presents it as on-brand this way: “we’re making this popular pick for breakfast or brunch available for everyone to enjoy quickly and conveniently.” In a nod to their “blue collar, every-day-person-on-the-go” roots, they present their avocado toast as something almost cause related, like bringing avocado toast to the masses. A fun stretch in my mind, but not so apparent at a quick glance.
And, for a baby boomer (DD was founded in 1950) Dunkin gets kudos for trying to keep up on trends. Although, also like a baby boomer, insider.com points out they are coming about five years after the trend peaked. (Ugghh).
Are they trying to act hip and cool when it’s not a good fit, with one high-end, all-natural product–an island amidst all the sugar and glaze?
In the end, sales are the measure.
Big corporations may be able to absorb the cost of launching something completely new and different. Certainly, the phrase “innovate or die” comes to mind.
On the flip side, marketing is about repetition. The Rule of Seven says that a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they act and buy from you. For most small business owners, narrowing your focus and delivering consistently is the key to success. If you try to sell to everyone, you won’t sell to anyone.
What do you think? Do you identify more with Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or a local favorite coffee shop? What about their brand resonates with you? Will you try Dunkin’s Avocado Toast?
And, most importantly, how do you think about your brand when you talk about your products, services and even yourself? You’ll likely catch me drinking the Brazilian coffee my husband made at home.