Assess honestly and confront reality. "Time to make the donuts" was an iconic slogan and important part of the Dunkin brand's past, Costello said, "but coffee was the future."
Differentiate or die. One example is Dunkin's multicultural marketing and product development. A Vietnamese franchisee "might have a shredded pork donut."
Differentiation plays out in Dunkin's advertising as well. On Monday Dunkin will launch a multiscreen coffee-focused campaign using the hashtag #mydunkin, and starring real Dunkin fans who the company and its agency Hill Holiday discovered on Twitter. Earlier this year it launched the first TV ad created from a Vine.
Be agile, invest in innovation. Dunkin launched a mobile app in 2013, a loyalty program this year, and will expand its CRM platform in 2014.
To advance its mobile payments strategy it has teamed with several national retailers (Walmart, Best Buy, CVS, Target and Gap) on a merchant customer exchange – essentially a payment coop where the companies will jointly own a payment system and its associated data.
"In mobile, from what we've found, it's easy to get caught up in the hype and technology," Costello said. He has fought the hype by staying focused on specific opportunities and the data.
Example: Since Latinos will represent half of Dunkin's growth in the next 10 years, the mobile app had to be bilingual.
"Marketing has become very complicated and it's easy to become overwhelmed. I've learned the power of focus… It's easy to get caught up in incrementalism. (How do we improve 10% on last year?) We look at what our customers really want."