Dunkin’ Brands: Dunkin’ and influencers — Live from Member Meeting 39

Coverage of this session by Cale Johnson of SocialMedia.org. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

2:10 — SocialMedia.org's Erin McDaniel introduces Dunkin' Brands' Social Media Manager, Melanie Cohn.

2:11 — Melanie starts by sharing her own influencer story. When she first started at Dunkin' a year and a half a go, she wanted to overhaul her cube design. She went on Instagram and found some inspiration. She found an influencer she liked who recommended Social Print Studio decorations, and soon Melanie's desk was covered in them. It was the great content, at the right time, and it drove her to buy.

2:11 — Melanie explains the purpose of Dunkin's influencer program is to connect more directly and organically with consumers. Their goals are scale, loyalty, better content, and redistribution across Dunkin' channels.

2:14 — Melanie says they leverage external and internal influencers. Externally, they look at fan advocates and content creators / artists. Internally, they look at folks like their Culinary Team (she says your internal influencers could be your designers, or your CEO).

2:15 — Melanie starts with a case study from pumpkin season: “As you know, when pumpkin flavors come back every year, people go crazy. But it happens every year, so we wanted to find a way to be fresh with it.”

2:16 — They focused on Instagram. The first thing they did was have Instagram takeovers, where they let influencers take over the Dunkin' Instagram account. They found it increased engagement by almost double. Second was to team up with fashionistas to pair up their “layered looks” with Dunkin's new layered drink. Finally, they teamed up with photographers to show off their colorful cheesecake squares. They ended up reaching an additional 5.5 million people who were fans of these influencers.

2:18 — They decided to use that influencer content across all channels — from email to their campus ambassadors. They tested their influencer content for their loyalty program and saw it perform better. They did a dedicated social email to engage their advocates. It was simple, but it was an effective way to activate them and drive them to the social conversation.

2:20 — They also did a first-ever local InstaMeet and invited Instagram influencers to a pumpkin farm. It included product tests, and it was all run by two local influencers — so it didn't feel too corporate.

2:21 — The InstaMeet embodied their motto: Do what our fans are doing, with a Dunkin' twist. From the event, they had over 40 pieces of great content — and they reached about 200,000 additional fans. They also repurposed the content on their channels, and it was among their top-performing Dunkin' content in 2015.

2:21 — Melanie moves on to their approach for Valentine's season a few months ago: They decided to build a diverse brand experience incorporating three different influencer groups. They worked with advocates to create UGC, high-reach influencers to build the “Love” theme, and internal influencers to drive content innovation.

2:22 — First, they worked with advocates on SnapChat. They created SnapChat geo-filters as a fun tool for fans to share. They geo-fenced over 8,000+ stores nationwide, so you could only use them in or directly near the store. It was really effective because with their business, they can never say “someone clicked this and bought something” — but this campaign got pretty close. It all tied to the in-store experience with social as well. They got hundreds of thousands of uses of their filter and many millions of impressions. Even better, the cost-per-impression was lower than they see on ads they could have run on other platforms. They even saw some comments spilling over to Twitter where fans talked about wanting to go to Dunkin' because of their special filters.

2:25 — Next, they looked at high-reach influencers. They looked at the last Bachelorette couple, Shawn Booth and Kaitlyn Bristowe — because they had mentioned their love of Dunkin' on the show. They also worked with Us The Duo, Amy Tangerine, and Aww.Sam. Kaitlyn and Shawn came to an LA store to hand out heart shaped donuts and roses to local fans — and Kaitlyn leveraged her SnapChat channel to promote it.

2:26 — Finally, for Valentine's, they leveraged their internal influencers. They were among the first brands to leverage Facebook Live. They used their executive chef as well as another chef to take a live tour of Dunkin' Brands University to see all the interesting behind-the-scenes stuff. It included a huge wedding cake and how-to for a heart-shaped donut cake. In just 13 minutes of live content, they held the attention of their audience 15-times longer than their usual video content. They had 21,000 live viewers — and that was all without any paid promotion behind it. Average view time was about two minutes, which showed the stickiness of live video.

2:28 — Their Culinary Team created content unique to Dunkin', and it drove nearly 100,000 actions. They found content from their internal influencers tends to outperform their studio content.

2:29 — Melanie moves on to her final case study about their loyalty program. They worked with Logan Paul, who Melanie describes as a funny, young, fresh comedic character who has about 10 million followers across his channels (and already loves Dunkin'). The simple message he helped them share focused on their new loyalty app and a code they could use to get some perks. It contributed to a 92% lift in daily installs of their app over a three-day period — it showed he really did influence his fans to drive action. Second, Logan Paul gift cards led all virtual and mGift cards in November, accounting for 32% of all DD Card Sales. He drove over 6 million impressions or video views (SnapChat and Vine) and over 193,000 engagements.


Q: Going back to pumpkin season, what guidelines did you set for Instagram takeovers and what did that process look like?

A: We didn't actually hand them the keys. We had them create all the content and tell us what the caption was, and we posted on their behalf. It also allowed them to post content on theirs and drive them to us (and it avoided any complicated legal issues).

Q: What services do you use to work with influencers?

A: Melanie says one of her favorites is Popular Pays, and one of their benefits is that legal is already set for things like getting rights to the influencer's content. They also have their own internal legal agreements they use in addition.

Q: How do you maintain relationships?

A: Melanie says that, for example, for Logan Paul on his birthday, they had their local person in LA deliver him donuts and we wished him well on our social channel. She says relationships with most influencers probably isn't something you need to maintain every single day, but it's good to stay in touch.

Q: What are other ways you use your internal Culinary Team to drive your message?

A: We use them for content creation — we have a cake decorator. Every time we've used a SnapChat filter, we use them. Back when the blue and gold dress was big, we went down and asked them to create us a Dunkin' version of the blue and gold dress — so they're great for real-time content. They really are unique to us, so we try to get them in front of the press, etc. I also show them the results and really empower them — and it got them super excited and now they're sending us ideas.

Q: What else are you guys doing now with Facebook Live after your earlier success?

A: We have some things in the works. I think, starting with using it so early — we could have failed and it wouldn't have been a huge deal, so we're more comfortable with it. We're using it with our Culinary Team — we have a Manager of Donut Excellence, and people think that's cool — so we'll continue to leverage them and that tool. Keep your eye out, because more exciting stuff is on the way.