The buzz about coffee

Both Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts seem to have achieved successes with their recent promotional campaigns - Starbucks via its national training day and Dunkin' by offering a $.99 latte promotion to take advantage of the Starbucks' closure.

Both Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts seem to have achieved successes with their recent promotional campaigns – Starbucks via its national training day and Dunkin' by offering a $.99 latte promotion to take advantage of the Starbucks' closure.

Howard Schultz recognized a year ago that Starbucks' quality had deteriorated. Our consumer data confirms that. BrandIndex's quality score can range from -100 to +100, and is calculated as percent of consumers rating a brand positively less the percent of consumers rating the brand negatively. We started tracking Starbucks in June 2007, and quality (in the eyes of consumers) had decreased steadily from June through August, falling from the 40s into the low 30s. Since then, scores have stabilized.

Starbucks also measured a modest increase in mindshare, but dramatically improved its buzz score, increasing from seven on the day they announced the campaign (February 11) to a score of 18 on the day after the promotion (February 26) – an increase of 157% - indicating that the majority of consumers viewed the training initiative positively. Buzz measures how consumers interpret recent news regarding a brand, and can also range from -100 (all consumers view recent news as negative) to +100 (all consumers view recent news as positive). Mindshare measures the percentage of respondents who have heard any recent news on a brand. This score ranges from 0 to 100.

The restaurant brands with the highest Mindshare scores in BrandIndex typically score in the 50's, and include Starbucks, Subway and McDonalds.

Starbucks will need to execute consistently at an improved level in order to achieve a longer-term, meaningful impact on the brand. Of course, repeated events that generate positive buzz, have the potential to move longer term indicators of brand health. The real test will be if quality and satisfaction scores increase in the coming days and weeks.

According to our BrandIndex poll, Dunkin' Donuts' mindshare score reached 40 on the day after the promotion, an increase of 15% from its three-week moving average. More impressively for Dunkin' Donuts, 36% of respondents reported hearing recent positive news, while only 4% reported hearing recent negative news – representing a buzz score of 32, an increase of 28%.

Dunkin's success is even more impressive given that the $.99 latte campaign was only announced two days prior to the campaign. So, word traveled quickly. It remains to be seen just how many Starbucks customers tried Dunkin' Donuts for the first time, or the first time in a long time, and might have been converted to Dunkin' Donuts' customers. Additionally, Dunkin' Donuts has been on a roll over the past year. They have been steadily improving their buzz scores over the past eight months, and the longer-term indicators of brand health have risen over that time period as well.

BrandIndex, a YouGovPolimetrix product, conducts innovative online market research, leveraging its 1MM person proprietary PollingPoint consumer panel. BrandIndex is a daily poll of 5,000 consumers, and measures 1,000 major commercial brands in 41 industry sectors, on eight indicators of brand health: mindshare, buzz, image, quality, value, satisfaction, willingness to recommend, and reputation. Results are available daily at 9am EST.

Analysis conducted by YouGovPolimetrix

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