Q&A: Dan Saia, VP of consumer engagement, Dunkin’ Donuts

Dan Saia, VP of consumer engagement at Dunkin’ Donuts, discusses its advertising, social media and interactive strategies

Q: What kind of role does direct marketing play in branding for Dunkin’ Donuts?

A: It’s definitely a huge part of brand awareness. It’s something that has always worked for us to build direct communication with our customer base. We don’t treat it as specialized, as some companies do.

Q: Are there any channels you focused on in the past year more than others?

A: Facebook and the social media outlets have been a good tool to build a loyal following and a two-way dialogue. The [Keep It Coolatta 2] project, more than anything, confirmed to us that it’s in our best interest to tap into numerous digital opportunities from our connecting database through direct mail and specific online sites like Yahoo and Pandora. We can build a dialogue and buzz on the Internet through multiple channels and they will work harder for us because of that buzz.

Mobile has also become an interesting tool for us, so we are working on initiatives to make it more effective.

Q: Have you decreased your use of any traditional channels?

A: It’s hard to walk away from TV considering how effective it is. We still see immediate sales from a TV investment. We are shifting toward higher ROI channels and channels that might give us the opportunity for specific segmenting, but we’re not going to walk away. Our brand is about getting people going in the morning and keeping them going all day, so radio is a big part of that.

Q: You mentioned the Keep It Coolatta 2: Flavor Boogaloo integrated campaign from last summer. What were the objectives of this project?

A: We’ve noticed that people are drinking more and eating less. The beverage segment of our category is competitive and the margins are good, so we’re expanding our beverage line. This past summer was the second of many more summer beverage promotions that we’re going to drive.

Q: The campaign primarily resided on the brand’s Facebook page. What were some of the social media results?

A: We added 300,000 new Facebook fans. From a sales point of view, our Coolattas experienced double-digit year-over-year growth in June and July. So, we’re winning on two fronts: product awareness and product sales. We’re up to 2.5 million fans on Facebook and that continues to grow. One of our benchmarks is to build a base of fanatics that become our brand ambassadors.

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