When one thinks of doughnuts, Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are most likely the first brands that come to mind. There have been friendly debates over the years among friends who will defend their doughnut brand of choice and will swear that no other compares. As a child, I can remember going to Krispy Kreme, looking at the assorted doughnuts in the big glass display cases, and being served by nice, older ladies wearing hairnets and all white, signifying the Krispy Kreme uniforms. In the southern US, Krispy Kreme rules. However, on the East Coast, it is all about Dunkin Donuts.
In looking at their websites and social media presence, there are some similarities and differences in their approaches. Krispy Kreme defines their mission, “to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme,” which focuses on the enjoyment of their products. Their vision is “to be the worldwide leader in sharing delicious tastes and creating joyful memories,” which ties in to their traditional, yet nostalgic roots. Founded in 1937, Krispy Kreme focuses on quality of service and acknowledges the importance of the consumer, referring to them as their lifeblood, or “center of the doughnut.” On February 24, 2015, Krispy Kreme will open its 1,000th shop worldwide. Krispy Kreme has stuck to their core products, doughnuts and coffee, but have added other items, including drinks, Kool Kreme, bagels, and oatmeals to meet the needs of the ever-changing consumer.
Dunkin Donuts opened its first shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950. There was very little history on their website about their company so the user would not get that traditional, nostalgic feel from Dunkin Donuts website. Even thought Dunkin Donuts is a younger company, as of 2011, there were 10,083 Dunkin Donuts stores worldwide, including 7,015 franchised restaurants in 36 states within the US and 3,068 international shops in 32 countries. Like Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts has had to expand their menu to include hot, iced, and frozen beverages, and they also have breakfast sandwiches and bakery sandwich items, which sets them apart from Krispy Kreme. Dunkin Donuts’ logo emphasizes coffee, which many consumers associate with the brand. When consumers want coffee, they will more likely think of Dunkin Donuts, then may add a doughnut to the order. With Krispy Kreme, consumers are more likely to buy a box of doughnuts, then may decide to order coffee to go with the doughnuts.
Both companies offer free apps for consumers, but each has a different focus. Krispy Kreme’s Hot Light app allows users to find the nearest location from their phones and receive alerts. When the neon glow of “Hot Now” is activated, it means doughnuts were freshly made and coming out of the ovens. (Hot Light App, 2015) The Dunkin’ Mobile app allows users to view their Perks point balance, redeem rewards, share beverage rewards, receive exclusive offers, and locate the nearest Dunkin Donuts location. Krispy Kreme is launching a rewards program, My Krispy Kreme Treats, but it is only available in select cities at this time. Dunkin Donuts, DD Perks, is a rewards program, which is an easy way for consumers to earn points toward free beverages, rewards, and exclusive offers.
Both companies have a social media presence. On Krispy Kreme’s home page, there are direct links at the top to the following platforms; Facebook Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Google +. If the user scrolls down the home page, the same links show, with the exception of Instagram, which is replaced by Foursquare. There needs to be consistency so it will be less confusing for users. Dunkin Donuts has direct links toward the bottom of their home page for users to access Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the Dunkin Blog. Krispy Kreme does not currently have a blog, which is a missed opportunity for their brand to connect with users about specific topics in an online community format. Dunkin Donuts Facebook page has 13 million likes, while Krispy Kreme has 5 million likes. Dunkin Donuts is able to connect their brand with users in their daily lives. Krispy Kreme uses Facebook to share company news (i.e. grand openings, celebration of its 1,000th store, etc), but does not truly connect with users and tie their brand in to being a part of their daily lives. Both companies use Twitter to connect with users, but Dunkin Donuts has 865,000 followers while Krispy Kreme has 161,000 followers. Both companies have a few duplicate posts between their Facebook and Twitter platforms, but there is also plenty of unique content. Krispy Kreme’s Twitter page focuses more on doughnuts and its product line, with occasional reference to the Hot Light App. Dunkin Donuts references their rewards program and shows picture of doughnuts, coffee, and beverages, but they tend to ask questions to users that are not directly related to their brand. For example, one tweet asks the user who they will take on a coffee date and another one asks which movies are getting the user’s vote for the Awards show airing on television.
Krispy Kreme uses their nostalgia to draw in crowds and to stay true to their roots as a company. Their social media-driven marketing model along with their loyal fan base helps Krispy Kreme in remaining innovative and forward thinking in their marketing strategies. All of their marketing is done in-house, which keeps prices low and fosters communication between the business and design teams. Krispy Kreme does not use paid media and relies heavily on word of mouth and social media to spread their message and brand awareness. Dunkin Donuts uses social media as a means of fun interaction and engagement with users. Dunkin Donuts also recognizes each social media platform is unique and the type of engagement will vary depending on the platform.
Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts are both great companies with product offerings that keep consumers coming back for more. They both realize the importance of social media, but take different approaches in how they appeal to their consumer bases. Both companies can learn from one another. Krispy Kreme can see the importance and success of Dunkin Donuts coffee and beverage product lines while Dunkin Donuts can see the importance of Krispy Kreme’s doughnut tradition. Both are expanding into international markets and will have their audiences that will think their brand choice is above all of the rest.