Starbucks Vs. Dunkin’ Donuts: Yes or No?

February 12, 2011 at 8:21 PM (Musings) (, , )

You’re right: it doesn’t really seem like a “yes or no” situation.  Hear me out, though.  When I worked at Starbucks, every now and then we’d have district-wide meetings to discuss seasonal changes, company updates and the 200th or so reminder that we were not competing with Dunkin’ Donuts. Starbucks vs. Dunkin' Donuts showdown. Who wins? This is always something that has baffled me to a degree: for instance, in spring 2008, the company launched Pike Place Roast (after we were reminded that Dunks was not a competitor).  My first thought?  “This is the closest thing we have to Dunkin’ Donuts.”

Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that while Starbucks may have claimed that it wasn’t competing with Dunky D, it ultimately comes to how it’s perceived by the consumers.  And for the most part, consumers place the two brands in competition with one another.  Although, now I think I also see where the ‘Bucks is coming from. The two brands are so distinctly different when it comes to coffee: a Starbucks drinker thinks Dunks is too weak, and a Dunkin’ Donuts drinker considers the ‘Bucks too strong.  Sure, Starbucks is pricier, but I’ll cough up the cash for my iced coffee given the option between the two because I just prefer a stronger coffee.

Now, that all said, I don’t know what’s going on behind the corporate doors of the mighty Dunkin’ Donuts.  Given their latest branding campaign in Mass., I would guess that they’re pitting themselves against Starbucks, but given that I never worked there, I wouldn’t know.

Dunkin' Donuts Celtics cup!?

What do you think?  Is Dunkin’ Donuts turning up the heat on Starbucks?  If so, what are they accomplishing by appearing as the Starbucks doppelganger?


1 Comment

  1. Mandy Miller said,

    I’ll give it to Dunkin’s new “I’m Drinkin’ Dunkin” campaign. It targets a fairly broad market – ranging from the average Joe up to the working business men and women. Dunkin’ also has more choices for foods, also offering more ‘healthy’ choices. On the other hand, what Starbucks offers is the best blends, unique (but limited) foods and brand themselves as socially responsible (i.e. Ethos water, organics, etc.).

    Personally, I just go with what’s there. It is an interesting note, and whether they will admit it or not, they are prime competitors.

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