Dunkin Donuts Marketing Strategy: Making Their Donuts favourite Worldwide!

Dunkin Donuts Marketing Strategy: Making Their Donuts favorite Worldwide

Dunkin Donuts is the world’s leading quick-service restaurant (QSR) working on a franchise model. Also, it is the favorite doughnut company of America.

What makes it a leading QSR and America’s favorite?

The answer lies in the marketing strategy of Dunkin Donuts.

It has over 11,300 Dunkin Restaurants worldwide, 8500 run in 451 states of the U.S.A., and 3200 across 36 countries. Well, this widerspread business tells that the brand is loved by people worldwide.

Dunkin is winning the title of #1 brand in customer loyalty in the out-of-home category for the 15th years in a row. Another milestone by the brand is that it is the #1 package coffee category for the 7th year in a row. The brand is all victorious, and all these achievements are a result of a strong marketing strategy of Dunkin Donuts.

So let us find out what marketing strategy takes Dunkin Donuts to the top.

How did the Delicious Dunkin Donuts journey started

Dunkin Donuts got its launch in the year 1950 by William Rosenberg. It started when Rosenberg opened a restaurant in 1948 named Open Kettle in Quincy, Massachusetts.

dunkin donuts founder

Before starting Open Kettle, Rosenberg used to sell a variety of food items including, donuts, coffee, and other snacks in various industrial areas. But, he realized that half of the sale was coming from donuts and coffee. So he decided to start a restaurant selling donuts and coffee primarily, his bestsellers from a previous business, and that’s how he started his restaurant, Open Kettle. The restaurant was getting speedy success by grossing over $5,000 per week.
Open Kettle, then went on to become Dunkin Donuts.

But Rosenberg was not satisfied with the name Open Kettle. After two years on Open Kettle, he decided to change its name and the idea of a hit when he noticed his customers eating donuts by dunking it into their coffees. That’s how he renamed his restaurant Dunkin Donuts in 1950. Since that time, Dunkin Donuts is getting tremendous success by selling varieties of food like bagels, donuts, muffins, different flavored coffees, and other beverages.

Marketing Strategy of Dunkin Donuts

The marketing strategy of Dunkin Donuts is quite different. It does not choose conventional marketing practices but unconventional practices to target its customers. The brand stays quiet in the news for its marketing approaches. Continue reading to find out how.

Social Media Marketing

You got to be social if you want to be a customer’s favorite and gain their loyalty. Dunkin Donuts knows well how to use social media platforms to engage its customers.

The Instagram page of Dunkin donuts is a treat for customers’ eyes. It follows proper branding guidelines and posts its recipes on the page with attractive images and videos. Also, as the brand runs its franchise across diverse global locations, it creates various accounts based on such locations, considering there is a different kind of content to pitch to the audience from diverse backgrounds.

The brand utilizes the Twitter platform to receive queries from its customer and respond to them for an optimum solution. Dunkin tweets are quite fun like this latest one “Kiss me, I’m 100% Dunkin.”

So the idea of their social media marketing strategy is to entertain and create such engaging content that customers could not resist but try them out.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is a part of Dunkin’s social media marketing strategy. Dunkin knows how to pitch to the audience by creating memes. 

The social media pages of Dunkin, especially Twitter, include some of the hilarious posts and tweets. 

Everyone remembers the time when the internet was filled with the “what’s the color of the dress” image. A debate was going over social media for the color of the dress.

The image was going viral because it confused the users whether it was blue/black or white/gold. So Dunkin Donuts grabbed this opportunity to promote their brand and joined the bandwagon with perfect memes. It posted a picture of their donuts captioning it ” blue/black or white/gold, they’re delicious”. Their post went viral and generated buzz that attracted the sight of audiences.

Choose the viral to go viral. That’s how Dunkin amuses its audience.

Controversial Marketing

Controversial marketing is a tactic where a brand intentionally surprises or shocks the audience with its marketing campaigns by violating the norms, values, or morals of society.

It might sound wrong promoting, but for Dunkin Donuts, it is what it is. That’s how they stay in the news and the views of their customers.

One of the controversies by Dunkin Donuts is when it put a signboard saying this in their stores:

 “If you hear any of our staff shouting in a language other than English, please call 443-415-7775 immediately with the name of the employee to receive a coupon for free coffee and a pastry — General Manager.”

Dunkin Donuts using controversial marketing strategy

The signboard clearly states that Dunkin’s employees are not allowed to speak any language other than English. People on Social media were criticizing Dunkin for this signboard statement. 

Another controversial ad was their “charcoal donut ad featuring a girl (the CEO’s daughter) with blackface holding the charcoal donut.

The CEO questioned that they are not allowed to promote their donuts using black. The ad didn’t go well as it showcases the cultural difference between Thailand and the U.S.A. Also, the ad was stated as bizarre and racist.

So that’s how Dunkin stirs up controversy to sell their brand.

Sensory Marketing

So let us first tell you about sensory marketing, and then we will discuss how Dunkin Donuts Use this strategy.
Sensory marketing or branding appeals to all the senses of customers about the brand. It is an emotional marketing appeal as it uses the human senses to relate with the customer on an emotional level.

Dunkin Donuts forge emotional associations with its customers’ minds by appealing to their senses. In one of its marketing campaigns, the brand pitched the audience by forming associations with all three human senses. These senses were sight, smell, and sound.

This campaign was to lure customers to visit the Dunkin Donuts store. They targeted the majority of people who go to work using public transportation during their morning coffee routine.
First, they took their attention with a radio announcement along with a jingle. After this, they installed scent spray devices that released an aroma every time the sound of jingle ran over the radio.Also, these scent devices were in the buses, and whenever the bus approaches nearby Dunkin Store, the ad radio ad ran along with the releasing of scents. At last, when people got off the bus, there was a visual ad that guided them to the nearest Dunkin Donuts store.

Brilliant isn’t it!
That’s how Dunkin Donuts masters sensory marketing.

Event Marketing and Sponsorships

When it’s about events marketing, Dunkin Donuts keeps it big. Event Marketing is good, but when a brand is sponsoring big events, it’s great. 

Dunkin Donuts ran a multi-deal with Madison Square Garden Company. It became an official sponsor of the NBA basketball team, National Women’s Hockey League, and various other teams.

Being a sponsor of the greatest sports event is how the brand gets brand exposure.


Dunkin Donuts is also a sponsorship partner of the widely popular television reality show America’s Got talent. Being a partner in a show with a massive audience base is how Dunkin Donuts creates awareness for its brand on a large scale. 


Dunkin Donuts’ marketing strategy’s goal is to make the customers aware of their brand in every possible way. All of the marketing efforts of Dunkin are to grab the attention of customers.
Be it surprise or laugh, the promotional strategy of Dunkin Donuts stirs up emotions from the audience.

The brand, with its unconventional communication, pitches a large customer base.
One major key takeaway from Dunkin Donuts’ strategy is to communicate with customers proactively. The brands should know what’s the buzzing topic and use it in their marketing strategy, and that’s what Dunkin Donuts masters.

Marketing globally is not easy for brands, but for Dunkin Donuts, it’s a piece of cake (or donuts, we shall say).

So learn from Dunkin Donuts and make your brand customers’ most favorite

Vipul Agarwal
My drive comes from my passion for marketing. Moreover, I love to assist others and help them with all my might in their goal fulfillment. My educational journey in the fields of engineering and management has prepared me to understand the nuances of this industry and stay up to date with all the latest advancements through continued learning and development. I believe a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. So I utilize my leisure time in exercising and eating healthy. I indulge in various help books to understand the world we live in, a little better.