Research consultancy firm Brand Keys once again ranked Dunkin Donuts as number one in the coffee category of its yearly Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI), making this the sixth straight year that Dunkin’ Donuts has received the award.
Brand Keys’ annual national study CLEI surveyed 49,000 consumers who assessed the emotional and rational aspects of 598 brands in 83 varied categories. Dunkin’ Donuts got the top spot as the coffee brand that customers are loyal to, with consumers saying that the chain consistently meets their expectations for quality, taste, brand value and service.
The survey also fused psychological inquiries and higher-order statistical analyses in checking out the results, and this year once more proved that it is still “customer delight’ that will continue to determine the consumer landscape—a fact that other restaurants can capitalize on to cement customer loyalty and increase restaurant sales and profitability.
“We are honored to once more earn Brand Keys’ highest echelon for customer loyalty in the coffee segment,” said Dunkin’ Brands’ chief global marketing and innovation officer John Costello. “Their recognition of Dunkin’ Donuts in six consecutive years mirrors the renowned quality of our coffee and the astonishing commitment of our franchisees who work hard in continuously providing our customers excellent experiences day in and day out. Because of their efforts, Dunkin’ Donuts customers have developed a unique, strong connection to our brand, which makes us work harder in our commitment to keep America running with our remarkable coffee, snacks and baked goods, served in a friendly atmosphere at great value.” Such friendly atmosphere includes welcoming and colorful marketing visuals, such as vivid menu boards, menus and menu holders, along with other interior aspects.
Customer research firm The NPD Group also corroborates Brand Keys’ claim, as it reports that Dunkin’ Donuts provides the most traditional hot and iced coffee in the country, selling over 1 billion cups each year.
The brand has indeed remained consistent in what it stood for when it was founded 60 years ago: superior coffee and quality, delicious donuts. The challenge it faced in recent years, however, is how to keep it relevant to today’s customers, trying to maintain its 60-year old heritage and meeting its customers’ evolving needs.
In a separate report last year, Costello emphasized that they have one basic principle in delighting customers: everything that the consumer comes in contact with defines the brand – social media, events, advertising, the web, the in-store atmosphere (including visual displays such as menu boards, menus and menu holders), signage, the brand’s community presence, and of course, the product itself.
All their activities are consistently customer-centric—knowing fully well who and what their customers are and how they are changing–accepting the fact that today’s consumers would always experiment on some other coffee brands. Realizing this, Dunkin’ is not afraid to ask for feedback, enticing customers to send their opinions (sometimes with the promise of a free donut), and sets out to work on those comments. Knowing how experimental their customers are, the brands also sees to it that their consumers are continuously reminded of Dunkin’ Donuts’ down-to-earth and unpretentious personality—a coffee restaurant that diners can always come home to at the end of the day, and making sure that when customers do come home, they get to experience once again Dunkin’s unique coffee and donuts experience.