PALM DESERT, CA: Dunkin' Donuts typically bases its messaging more around a "brand personality" than demographics, in recognition of the fact the people who buy its coffee and baked goods frequently share a common attitude.

John Costello, President/Global Marketing and Innovation at Dunkin' Brands, discussed this subject at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2016 Annual Leadership Meeting.

And he suggested that its core audience is largely distinguished by a distinctive identity, rather than membership of a particular age group.

"We're more defined by our brand personality than by demographics," said Costello. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Dunkin's DNA grounded in transformation.)

"Dunkin' is really driven by people who view themselves as down to earth, proud to have things to do, are really authentic, and not driven by status. So part of our target is authenticity."

By understanding that its appeal is often based on a mindset, Dunkin' can ensure its marketing messages reflect these customer priorities.

"There's a tendency for us to talk about our features and benefits but not fully appreciate that – whether you're a B2C or B2B marketer – customers have choices," he said.

"They're evaluating all of us, not just on the merits of our features and benefits but on how we differentiate ourselves against everybody else."

In encapsulating its appeal across various generations and parts of the country, Dunkin' has long looked to a neat and succinct guiding principle.

"Dunkin' is how the everyday folks who keep America running keep themselves running every day, all day long," was how Costello described it.

While this idea helps Dunkin' stay focused on its core customer, the brand also realises the importance of utilising distinct strategies and media channels to reach certain cohorts, such as millennials and multicultural consumers.

"Everybody's chasing millennials but [brands] also need a great multicultural strategy. Latin or Hispanic customers will represent over half of the population growth in the United States over the next ten years," Costello said.

Data sourced from Warc