Brand Strategy
5 mins read

When & why should a business rebrand: Dunkin' case study

Published on
February 6, 2019
Scott Adam Lancaster
Brand Development Expert
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When should a company revamp its branding and rebrand?

The decision to rebrand a company or change its name is a significant one, requiring careful consideration and strategic planning. While it can be daunting, rebranding can also be a powerful tool to drive growth and adapt to changing market demands. Here, we explore when it's the right time for a company to change its brand name, drawing upon the example of Dunkin' Donuts' transformation into Dunkin'.

Evaluating the Need for Rebranding

Shift in Target Market or Business Focus

When a company experiences a change in its target market or a shift in its core business, it may be time to consider rebranding. Dunkin' Donuts, for example, decided to focus more on beverages, particularly coffee, as it recognised healthier eating habits among Americans and the higher profit margins from coffee sales.

Simplifying the Brand

Streamlining a brand can create a more modern and accessible image. Dunkin' Donuts' rebranding to Dunkin' aimed to simplify its brand, reflecting its commitment to providing customers with a more straightforward and streamlined experience.

Timing the Rebranding Process

Aligning with Strategic Growth Plans

Rebranding efforts should coincide with a company's strategic growth plans. In Dunkin's case, the name change was part of a multi-year growth plan to transform the business into an on-the-go, beverage-led brand. This alignment ensures that rebranding supports the company's overarching goals.

Capitalising on Market Trends

Successful rebranding capitalises on current market trends and consumer preferences. Dunkin's decision to focus on beverages was informed by the growing popularity of coffee and the potential for expansion into other beverage categories.

Key Factors to Consider for a Successful Rebranding

Communicating the Rationale behind the Rebrand

Ensuring customers understand the reasons behind a rebrand is crucial. Dunkin's management team communicated their decision to focus on beverages and the desire to create a more modern, simplified brand. This transparency helps maintain customer loyalty during the transition.

Preserving Brand Heritage

While change is essential, it's vital not to alienate loyal customers by disregarding a brand's history. Dunkin' managed to strike a balance by modernising its name while still honouring its heritage as a beloved American breakfast staple.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

A successful rebranding involves a well-executed transition plan, which includes updating store designs, logos, and merchandise and implementing menu changes and new customer initiatives. Dunkin's rebranding was supported by various efforts to improve the customer experience and ensure a seamless transition.


Rebranding a company or changing its name should be approached with careful planning and understanding of the underlying reasons for the change. Companies can determine the right time to rebrand and embark on a new chapter in their business journey by considering factors such as market trends, strategic growth plans, and customer expectations.

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