Since 1950, Dunkin' Donuts has grown to be one of the largest coffee shop franchises in the world. With more than 12,000 restaurants in 36 countries, the chain has paired their signature great tasting products with great branding and stellar in-store experiences that keep customers coming back. It's these positive and consistent customer experiences that have given the chain such powerful brand equity.
Dunkin' has unlocked a key secret for most brands: frequency leads to familiarity and familiarity creates trust. In the early 1980s, Dunkin' Donuts unveiled their first popular jingle. The airwaves were abuzz with the brand's famous "It's Worth the Trip" tagline. Today, Dunkin' Donuts has moved on with an all-new motto. Many U.S. consumers now know that "America Runs on Dunkin". The secret to making that tagline stick has been consistent, omni-channel messaging. This decade-old slogan is plastered across all of Dunkin's television spots, print advertisements, and social media. When consumers need that quick pick-me-up, they know to visit their favorite Dunkin' Donuts location for a freshly brewed coffee and glazed doughnut – just like millions of their fellow Americans.
These catchy jingles, mottos, phrases and slogans stick with consumers. In fact, it's these routine and consistent marketing messages that create repeat customers. Furthermore, when a multi-location brand equips their local affiliates to honor the brand's unique values, consumers know that they'll be treated with the same great experience from one location to the next.
"We have nearly 1,200 franchise owners and operators in the U.S. who are committed to providing our guests with an unmatched customer experience each and every day," says John Costello, former chief global customer and marketing officer at Dunkin' Donuts. "Through their efforts, Dunkin' Donuts is one of the world's most recognized and loved brands and a daily ritual for millions of people."
Today we'll explain how Dunkin' Donuts and other famous multi-location brands are able to delight their customers by using consistent messaging across all their marketing, whether national, regional or local.
Why Does Consistent Messaging Matter so Much?
In 2016, Dunkin' Donuts saw a 7.6% increase in sales. While consistent messaging doesn't account for all of that growth, it certainly does contribute. However, creating, delivering and monitoring a consistent, fresh, and unique message across hundreds or thousands of franchise locations doesn't happen overnight. In fact, many of the world's top multi-location brands still struggle with local marketing and brand consistency.
According to Pica9's 2017 Distributed Benchmark Report, only 23 percent of local marketers believe that the brand is "very effective" at delivering relevant messages in the right channels. These survey findings showcase how critically important local marketing contributions are to the success of the brand.
When a brand delivers a unified message across the franchised network, they're not "selling" a particular product or service. Instead, messaging consistency acts as a simple and thoughtful reminder. For instance, when consumers see the "America Runs on Dunkin" slogan, they're automatically thinking about their favorite Dunkin' product. It's so well-coordinated it just happens. When consumers hear the same message over and over again, they're subconsciously connecting that messaging with the great customer experience that they know and love from that brand.
Did you know that well-managed and consistent brands are more profitable? For more, check out The Ultimate Brand Consistency Checklist for Local Marketing.
How Leading Brands Deliver Consistent Messages
The world's top distributed brands have many opportunities to connect with their audience. From social media to in-store signage, distributed brands (ones with many locations) must use all these touch points to connect with consumers. Within the distributed framework, corporate teams are tasked with crafting marketing messages that speak to the brand's unique value propositions. Then it's the franchisee's responsibility to take the brand's messaging and adapt it for local use without diluting that core value.
Brands like GEICO, Kay Jewelers, and Blink Fitness are able to grow and thrive in part due to the high level of consistency they've achieved across their networks.
GEICO has positioned itself as an automotive insurance leader. In fact, GEICO recently surpassed Allstate as America's favorite automotive insurer. GEICO's messaging reminds cash-strapped customers that there's no better place to save. The brand has zeroed in on their customer's desire for inexpensive car (and boat and motorcycle) coverage. With this knowledge, the brand has created a message map that attracts budget-conscious consumers. Additionally, GEICO supports their local agents with the print and digital collateral needed to honor the brand's promise. It's extremely important to get all of those local marketers singing from the same song sheet, and GEICO does it masterfully. For instance, the brand recently ran a special Valentine's Day promotion across social platforms. Agents from Tallahassee to Spokane used this playful limerick to remind customers how much money they could really save by switching to GEICO at their local office.
“GEICO is a perfect example of why positioning matters. Why buy from GEICO? To save money. This is the core of the brand. GEICO is a reputable company with low rates. GEICO doesn’t promise the best service or the most complete coverage. It promises low rates.” - Tim Calkins, Kellogg School of Management
Kay Jewelers is synonymous with the refined elegance, pageantry, and beauty of fine jewelry. Today, the brand has positioned themselves as a dominant player in the jewelry industry. Their unforgettable "Every Kiss Begins with Kay" slogan echoes across the airwaves and shows up in all their other digital and print marketing assets as well. The brand speaks to the intense emotions of love and romance in all of their marketing. Why? The most popular holidays for jewelry — Valentine's Day and Mother's Day — are deeply rooted in our emotional psyches. Consumers are compelled to buy those dazzling diamond rings because the brand reminds us that there's no better way to show your admiration. And when you know that the diamond from Kay will have the fairytale ending you've dreamed about, it's that much easier to trust Kay to deliver the diamond for your special day.
"Jewelry is a discretionary purchase. It's not an easy thing for a customer to turn to, so shoppers are always looking for a trust factor and a differentiation. They will only buy from people they trust and from brands they feel familiar with." - Howard Feller, MGM Advisors
Since the brand was founded in 2011, Blink Fitness has used body-positive messaging in all of their marketing activity to create the right vibe for their fitness customers. In fact, their "Every Body Happy" slogan targets those consumers who feel a little too intimidated to hit their local "tough-guy" gym. Blink Fitness encourages their members to get up, get out and get active, regardless of their weight or age. With this kind of inclusive and consistent messaging across the franchised network, the brand has set itself apart from top fitness competitors. It's why every Blink location has charts that guide guests through how to "stretch in a blink" and why the recognizable sketched artwork in their ads feels encouraging and friendly to customers no matter what city or state of mind they're in.
"Blink stands for something different and offers a more universally relatable approach to fitness, which this campaign represents. 'Fit' looks different on everyone and we celebrate that." - Ellen Roggemann, Blink Fitness
How to Deliver Consistent Local Marketing Messaging
Are you ready replicate the marketing success of these and other industry-leading brands? All it takes are four easy steps to learn how to deliver more consistent marketing messaging in your next local campaign.
Step #1: Define the Brand Message
The first step to delivering more consistent local messaging is to identify what makes your brand special. Are you trying to be fun and playful or is the brand more authoritative and serious? Additionally, look for ways to reflect how you solve customer's pain points in your marketing messaging. Do you have the survey data needed to pinpoint your target consumers' wants, desires, and needs?
For example, GEICO provides much more than car insurance. GEICO knows that consumers are looking for cheap and hassle-free coverage. Their customer-centric "save up to 15 percent" promise is distinct, honest and communicates the brand's unique value proposition. Not only does that connect with a key customer desire, it's also completely relevant at every location and in every market.
Step #2: Identify Your Core Marketing Channels
Secondly, corporate teams should identify and characterize the average local affiliate's most important marketing channels. With this information, teams can build more effective and tailored campaigns. Specific executions across all marketing channels — social media, print advertising, website — should inherently "feel" different to the customer. Of course, they're on different platforms so they need to be unique. However, each execution should still communicate the same unique promises and values that the brand is known for.
For example, Kay Jewelers does a great job of building a seamless and unified brand experience across all marketing channels. The brand recognizes that the modern consumer isn't limited to a single channel or platform. As consumers become increasingly more connected, Kay Jewelers continues to innovate and adopt all-new strategies to engage audiences. The changes they recently put in place have created a new environment where the way shoppers interact with the brand in the digital space mimics the way in-store shoppers interact with the brand. This creates a holistic shopping experience across multiple channels and helps to raise the importance of the in-store experience in the brand's overarching strategy.
Step #3: Audit and Optimize
Thirdly, identify what's working and not working in your message. The world's top distributed brands routinely audit their local and regional marketing performance. Start by reviewing each specific touchpoint. Don't look for what's "wrong" with the marketing execution; instead, look for areas where the customer runs into inconsistent messages or offers. Why isn't the local affiliate communicating the brand's unique promise on social media? Why isn't the franchisee using approved marketing messaging in their print advertisements? There could be a functional reason that you haven't fully addressed which neatly explains all those limitations. Use the information you learn to identify and remedy the consistency gaps on your next go-round.
Step #4: Create Rules
Finally, document all of the brand's messaging "rules" and share them with the field. It's important to outline the brand's unique nuances including how to use punctuation, spelling, syntax and more. However, it's equally important to make this document accessible and actionable since your local affiliates aren't spending all their time thinking about grammar and writing style. A simple checklist of the top 10 rules to keep in mind should suffice.
Consistency with Local Marketing Automation
Without a Local Marketing Automation (LMA) solution in place, even the most successful multi-location brands can struggle to deliver consistent messaging across their distributed store network.
With the right software solution, corporate marketing teams can ensure consistency from their local affiliates by simply locking down important messaging features like taglines, slogans and campaign promises inside the brand creative. This makes it easy for even very large brands to stay on top of all their marketing across the store network. With 18 brands and 3,600 properties, Marriott needed to control their messages in a way that they could control at an enterprise level. Using CampaignDrive, Marriott was able to create an enterprise-level brand management system that ensures consistency and marketing flexibility for its entire global marketing network.
See how your brand can achieve consistency and better local marketing using the ultimate guide to the templates, campaign, and tools you need to succeed. Check out the Local Marketing Playbook.