Lessons From Dunkin’ Donuts Chief

I’ve been pretty impressed with the pace of innovation at Dunkin’ Donuts over the last few years. A few years ago the firm spotted demand for Starbucks’ new Frappuccinos and came out quickly with its own drink, Coolattas. Dunkin’ recently expanded its menu to include smoothies, flat bread sandwiches, and pizzas that draw in the post-breakfast crowd.

So I was interested in reading an article about what the Dunkin Brands CEO, Jon Luther, had to say to the Entrepreneur Organization in Boston.

Luther transformed Dunkin’s stagnant brand by focusing on the organization’s culture and a refined view of it’s target customers.

The CEO developed a company-wide value system based on honesty, integrity and humility. And he took a pretty aggressive stance in making sure that it was adopted. As he said: 

Workers who couldn’t or wouldn’t ascribe to those values left the company. The ones who remained, shared a common value system.

The company then focused its efforts on its core customers that consumer research showed were a no-frills bunch that love routine, and are proud of their busy schedules.

The bottom line: Dunkin combined the ingredients for transformation: culture + customers + innovation.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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