Weight Watchers and Dunkin Donuts Inspires The Right Brain Studio to Shorten its Name
Have you noticed the irony? Weight Watchers is now WW and Dunkin’ Donuts will be known as Dunkin’ starting in January. The weight loss company and the weight gain company arrive at the same strategy simultaneously.
Both companies are casting off names that are limiting, evoke negative perceptions, or both. Weight Watchers is continuing its transformation to a company focused on wellness, a field far more expansive than weight loss. Dunkin follows in the footsteps of KFC, who needed to censor the dreaded “F” word in Kentucky Fried Chicken.
You’ll still find donuts at Dunkin. As reported by Adweek, “The name shortening could arguably be about getting away from the donuts association in favor of a broader menu. However, the brand emphasized in the statement that despite dropping the “donuts” from its name, donuts will “remain a significant focus for the brand.””
Both WW and Dunkin are strategically sound choices and I like them both, despite that WW doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Regardless, far more important is the company’s grasp of both business history and the “bigger” aspirations its brand represents. WW will not be joining the likes of Kodak or Time-Life Books on the scrapheap of failed brands and missed opportunities. Kodak thought they were in the film business, not photography. Time-Life Books thought they were selling books while The Discovery Channel and National Geographic were selling adventure and satisfying human curiosity.
WW gets it. The new corporate identity will open up new business opportunities, reach entirely new consumer segments and provide a deeper range of services for existing consumers. Equally important, the move should prove to be highly motivating for its employees, creating a greater sense of purpose.
With Dunkin’s focus on coffee for the past decade, including the tagline, “America runs on Dunkin,” the shortened name makes complete sense. I read an expert’s negative reaction to the new name: “What’s a Dunkin?” My response to that would be, “Who cares?” What’s an Apple (in the context of a phone or computer?) What’s a Dorito? What’s a Starbuck? Sometimes names are just over-rated. As I once wrote, brand names should be like Vice Presidential candidates. First and foremost, they should do no harm.
As the same Adweek article reports, “Dunkin’ Donuts has been on a first-name basis with its fans long before the introduction of its iconic tagline, ‘America Runs on Dunkin’,” the company said in an emailed statement, “with customers around the world naturally and affectionately referring to the brand as ‘Dunkin’.’””
So good for them. They can continue to build equity in coffee and explore menu innovation. They can keep the old school donuts, but maybe offer fewer of them in favor of food that makes more sense for the times, including muffins, egg-sandwiches, coffee drinks and other contemporary choices.
All this name-changing has inspired us at The Right Brain Studio! We are struggling between two new names. Should we follow the good example of KFC and simply be known as RBS? Or should we shorten the name to “Right.” Both have a lot going for them!
“RBS” is not only easy to say, it’s how we have abbreviated the company name in proposals for 10 years. On the other side of the ledger, we could easily be confused with the ever popular, Notorious RBG. True, I would personally embrace a reputation of older and wiser, but I’m quite a bit younger than my favorite Supreme and surely not as wise. Also, how much would we have to spend on the “rbs.com” URL? Way too much, I’m afraid.
“Right” has great appeal for several reasons. First, why should we take sides? Doesn’t the left side of the brain deserve some respect? More important, does anyone want to think anymore? Who has the time or the attention span for that? So why invoke “Brain?”
And think of all the great new taglines we could consider!
“Right. Because we always are.”
“Right Makes Marketing Might.”
“Take the Right Turn Toward Sharper Strategy.”
“If You’re Not Taking the Right Way You’re Taking Wrong Way.”
“Right. This Way.”
I could go on, but I’m sure you’d prefer I didn’t. Guess this name changing trends is something we’ll have to pass on for now.