Dunkin’ Donuts’ Costello: Location Amplifies Mobile Ads

In an interview with GeoMarketing, Dunkin’ Brands’s John Costello talked about the power of location — and how brands can up their local impact.

The rise of mobile means that marketers have the ability to reach consumers anywhere at any time, but what takes more work is delivering the right message and the right time — and striking this balance has a lot to do with local, John Costello, president of global marketing and innovation for Dunkin’ Brands, posited in his keynote at BIA/Kelsey Brands.

“Local today is both ‘geography’ and ‘individual,’” Costello said in the session, entitled Localizing a Brand in the Mobile Marketplace. “This is what we mean by the [classic goal] of getting the right message to the right consumer on the right device. And the loyalty that consumers have is not to Dunkin’ as a global food services company: it’s to their local Dunkin’ Donuts of Baskin Robbins.”

In other words, strong brands have a clear point of differentiation and brand purpose both nationally and locally — and they know how to communicate that to a consumer on their most personal device in a personalized way. So, how can brands make this message resonate on both a national and local level?

Know Your Local Market

It stands to reason that developing compelling a local campaign begins with, well, knowing the local market and consumer.

“You have to recognize the world is changing,” Costello said. “For us, that meant realizing that we have more Millennial consumers, more Hispanic consumers, a greater health and wellness awareness.”

John Costello

Then, marketers can begin to address local preferences and passions within the fit of the brand. For example, Dunkin’ has a well-known slogan: America Runs on Dunkin’. In markets with more Spanish speakers, Dunkin’ ran a video spot narrated by a bilingual surfer who is a brand advocate, using the same “motto” in Spanish.

That sort of national-to-local alignment has paid off, Costello said. In fact, when the brand message is consistent, the two begin to influence each other: Dunkin’ introduced guacamole in its California stores, and when it was a major hit, it became a national product.

Once brands have established their message — and aligned national and local priorities — they can begin to think about tactics, Costello suggested. Today, that means prioritizing multi-screen, digital communication; consumers expect brands to be listening as they live their lives across devices, and brands need to understand that in order to begin to create the personalized dialogue and relationship that consumers want.

“Marketing has moved from broadcasting out a message to creating a dialogue,” Costello said.

The ‘Moment Of Truth’

The last piece of the puzzle is the in-store moment. “This is the moment of truth,” Costello told GeoMarketing. He then revealed that Dunkin’ Brands is experimenting with a variety of technologies designed to communicate with consumers during that crucial in-store time — and, possibly, to retarget those visitors later.

“We’re testing beacons, we’re testing many things in store,” Costello said. “I think that utilizing location is the way to make mobile even more effective. Yes, right now we’re experimenting with all of those ways to get content to people at that ‘moment of truth.’”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.