As an avid coffee enthusiast, Starbucks and Dunkin are frequently visited on my daily trek to work. With such a consistency in my visits, my phone loves to suggest these two apps in the morning hours. I have recognized the differences that align to the values of the respective companies.
America runs on Dunkin’ and Americana values are at the root of each marketing campaign promoted through the Dunkin’ app. Americans love sports, good deals and sometimes struggles with the beginning of the work week. Mobile Mondays earn extra points when purchasing a coffee through the mobile app on Mondays help you earn another beverage later in the week. Dunkin’ uses location provided by the app to promote special deals after a win from local sports teams. Dunkin’ is constantly supplying good deals to increase foot traffic to their stores via the mobile app which is similar to their pricing strategy compared to competitors.
Starbucks is not for the everyday American, rather the coffeehouse millennial, willing to splurge on a crafted beverage curated for them. Starbucks gives more points per dollar (2 stars for $1) than Dunkin’ but runs less promotions to earn these points. Starbucks has partnered with Spotify to provide the coffeehouse vibes exclusive to mobile app users. The interface encourages customization of each drink making it easily accessible and simple to understand.
In the development stages of a mobile application, businesses should model their design and strategies to compliment the company values, similar to any marketing campaign.
Discussion: Give me your best example of a mobile app matching current brand strategies to enhance the customer experience.
Morgan Pastner Jaffe says
Hey Hannah, I love this read because I honestly switch between DD and Starbucks all the time. I love the personalization that each company offers each week including the perks, rewards, and games that both companies deploy throughout the year. It is obvious that Starbucks is collecting a ton of information about my orders and history. I get emails targeted at me to order a certain drink or food 3 times this week and I will get bonus stars. The drinks/food that are in my “challenge” are the typical drinks/food that I continuously order. I love the personalization and gamification that comes with Starbucks as well as Dunkin.
An app that jumps out to me is the Apple Watch app or fitness app that helps enhance the customer experience. It collects my data and gives me monthly challenges based on my previous months exercise history. You can also personalize your screen (or have multiple personalized screens) and get insight about your VO2Max, pacing, stand minutes and so forth. Apple like Starbucks partnered with Nike and different artists such as Jennifer Lopez. I believe Apple does a great job with their brand strategy and personalization and I am excited to see what is in store as the years continue.
Abby Merola says
Hi Hannah, I am also very obsessed with Dunkin and go there before work almost everyday. I order on the app when I leave my house and it is ready when I arrive at the store 3 minutes later. The app is so easy to use and it is so convenient for me to use. Another app that stands out to me in that way is the Target app. There app is so easy to use and it makes it so convenient that you can also order all your items beforehand and then head to the store and pick them up without even having to get out of your car. They give you updates on what is on sale and what is in your cart a few times a day and I love that. Someone to remind me that I still have something in my cart that I need to buy. These app make the customer experience one that gonna last a lifetime.
Krupa Bhatt says
Thanks for an interesting read. I used to work at Dunkin and Starbucks both back in high school. While I saw a lot of people using mobile orders at Starbucks it was not as big of a hype among Dunkin coffee drinkers. I prefer Starbucks coffee and I am obsessed with their app. They have everything I’d need down to the pin. I think the Nike training app really enhances the brand strategies of “if you have a body you are an athlete”. The app was a savior during covid when the gyms had shut down.No matter the type of workout everyone with a willingness to work out can follow along with them. Another great feature is that the app links some of their exclusive products that lead the users to the NIKE app and makes the shopping experience easier.
Andrea Mowers says
Great example. The first app that came to my mind is my NPR One app. I am a huge NPR listener and this acts as a “Pandora” for radio stories by streaming news stories that it knows I like. The NPR One app is all about informing its users, but offers a more curated experience for its listeners. While the radio must generalize its advertising and news stories to what the greater population (either national, regional or local) would want to know, my NPR One app knows that I am interested in stories related to behavioral psychology, election insights, and economic insights. Therefore, it feeds me stories or podcasts like Planet Money or the NPR Politics Podcast. NPR is “America’s public radio” and its brand relies on being the source of timely, relevant and trustful information for its listeners. Its mobile app NPR One knows my location, and feeds me the DCist’s Ways to Get Out There segment at the end of the week to help me plan my weekend. If I am traveling for a work event, my location can be updated to give me local stories to that area to help me stay informed.
Samara Grossel says
Great post! I used to be an avid Starbucks drinker and used their rewards all the time. Now, I actually go to my local coffee shop down the street and use points applied to my credit card. No app is even necessary, the discount is automatically available when I pay for something (if I have one) and I have the option to use it or not. If I wanted to place an online order and do other things then I would probably appreciate an app of some sort. To be honest though, part of me likes the no-frills way this coffee shop runs their rewards program (which is reminding me of my comment on Janice’s post about Rite Aid rewards). There’s something nice about having to order in person and support a local business. I definitely use rewards on other apps though, specifically on Uber Eats and Grubhub. Any time I use these services a lot, I get more discounts applied to my account which is nice.
Samantha Sylvain says
Great post about the brand strategies of each company. I never thought of them in that way so it was great to see your insights and take on each brand’s strategy. I am an avid coffee drinker myself. I did Dunkin Donuts more during college because of the low prices. However, I find myself becoming more of a Starbucks customer because of the variety and speciality drinks they provide.
Another app that comes to mind that matches it’s brand is the Nike app. It embodies the website and offers deals on shoes, and shows a catalog of sneakers and pictures to show it off. It also has the release dates of new sneakers that are about to come out. These sneakers are usually a one time release, meaning you will get on a wait list and if you are picked, you can purchase the sneaker. This is a great incentive for ‘sneaker-heads’ such as myself to get the app and keep the app.
Sara Valko says
Hannah, such a relatable article, I think there is nothing that hits better than a fresh coffee to start the week off. I am also a sucker for a good deal, which is why I tend to lean more toward Dunkin’ than Starbucks. I love the deals and am constantly looking on the app for any new promotions they are doing.
I think an app that really stands out to me that is the Peloton app. It is exactly like what is available on the bike or tread but it’s portable, which is huge. You don’t lose any of the experience that comes with the bike or treadmill, (with the exception of the actual piece of equipment). It is a great app to have when you are vacationing and it works seamlessly. The app is highly functioning and a great extension to the equipment.
Kate Levy says
I thought you had a great analysis of how both Dunkin and Starbucks incorporate their brand values into their mobile app experience and the promotions they run. I don’t get drinks out too much and I don’t have any apps like these, but your post almost convinced me to download them! In fact, my dad texted me this morning that there’s free coffee on Tuesdays if you have the Wawa app. He also uses the Starbucks and Dunkin apps.
I think Wawa is another example of a brand that uses its values to improve the customer experience. In September, anyone that worked for a school got unlimited free coffee for the month of September. My partner who works for Temple got his free coffee every single day. This promotion ties to how Wawa values teachers and education while getting people in a habit at the start of the school year to get Wawa coffee every day. I must say it worked on my partner because he still gets Wawa coffee every day, if not using Wawa K-cups at home!
Hilary Myers says
This is an excellent post! I love how you compared the two brand strategies. I have never gotten in the habit of buying coffee on the way to work — I prefer to brew it before I leave the house. (I have also always had access to good coffee at work so I usually refill when I arrive!) That being said, I think both of these brand strategies are effective and engaging! There’s nothing like that first sip of coffee. Both companies do a great job of writing for their target markets.
In terms of a current brand strategy that I like, I have to agree with Morgan on this one. The Apple Watch fitness notifications I get are effective and keep me engaged. I love that I can track my data over longer periods of time and compare progress. I also enjoy trying to beat my monthly fitness challenge! My dedication to daily workouts has fluctuated over time, but I appreciate the continual encouragement and feedback. It helps to keep me on track!
Kirsten Overton says
The number of times Dunkin’ would get me on the “free medium coffee” promos was ridiculous. However, it was smart, because it kept me coming back to the app and back to the cafe over and over. Whoever had the better deal at the time would get my business. They both offer a pleasant interface and quick service. The promos/discounts/rewards on their apps are what pushed me to make a decision.
A good example not related to coffee (surprisingly) of a mobile app matching current brand strategies to enhance my experience as a customer would be my banking apps Bank of America positions itself as giving power to it’s customers. The cashback deals I get when I log into my Bank of America app give me the power to select which deals I want to take part in. I will admit I have gone out of my way to purchase from a retailer or vendor who I remembered would activate my cashback promo. I love that Bank of America has contracts with these companies to provide me with promos. I used to have separate accounts with Chase and Bank of America and depending on the deals I would get from each, that would determine which account or card I would use.