Brand vs Brand: How Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts Leverage Video to Reach Their Target Audience

Brand vs Brand: How Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts Leverage Video to Reach Their Target Audience

Welcome to the first edition of a new series from ReelSEO: Brand vs. Brand, where we use exclusive data from Tubular Labs to analyse the video marketing profiles of two companies. In this post, we determine where each brand is succeeding, and glean lessons from both to help you succeed in the same ways. Entering the ring this week are Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.  Let the battle begin!

How Dunkin Donuts is Using Video Cross-Platform

Dunkin’ Donuts has taken a simple approach, going after views and engagements and doing so
quite successfully.  Despite the fact it only has around 10k subs, it gained an impressive 12M views in the last 30 days on their main YouTube channel.  The brand tends to post at least weekly, but not always on a regular schedule.  Their uploads include commercials, campaign videos, product announcements and re-posts of Vines.

This is a pretty standard approach for brands but fails a bit in audience building.  What I would call its “regular videos” tend to get lower views (200-1500) than its advertisements and Vines which routinely pull in the bulk of the views on the channel. One place it is doing well is in giving a spot to YouTube on its home page.  It has a set of tabs on the site for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter that fans can flip through to see the latest content.  This is certainly a reason why their numbers are matching Starbucks, despite their significantly lower subscriber count. The most popular video on its YouTube channel is ‘Ice Cream Flavored Coffees and Lattes’ but despite its 2.4M views, its incredibly low engagement rate suggests the views come from paid, rather than organic, promotion:

However, it is an incredibly popular brand with a lot of goodwill, and user-generated content has brought it a huge amount of visibility. When the company opened a branch in California in September 2014, big-time names like Ellen, What’s Trending, and Buzzfeed generated a lot of engagement and views by reporting it:

In terms of micro-video, Dunkin’ Donuts is using Vine about as well as any brand could expect.  It has over 51k

followers and over 1.6M loops and employs the standard timely stop motion videos around products and tent pole events. A regular series with a face to associate with the channel could really help it grow its audience on YouTube and create a daily or weekly conversation to give coffee drinkers a video home on Google’s video site. By the numbers, it is poised to be the video leader but needs to seize the opportunity by fully committing to best practices in online video.

Starbucks Video: Missing an Opportunity?

Starbucks has surprisingly taken a hands off approach to Vine and Instagram, focusing all of its video efforts into YouTube.  It does have a few different

channels for regions, but it clearly has a main channel and identity on YouTube.  It has nearly five times (about 51k) the subscribers as Dunkin’ Donuts and roughly the same amount of views (14.8M).Like Dunkin’ Donuts, it is putting out product announcements and interesting one-off videos, and unsurprisingly, views and engagements on “regular videos” are much higher, sitting in the 1k-2k range on most videos.  However, Starbucks is not posting video content to their home page or linking to their YouTube channel, and it is not always engaging with fans on YouTube – especially by turning off the ability for viewers to comment! It have shown some success with Q&A style videos about coffee but where it has really resonated with audiences is in the heartfelt video category:

Its video profile is pretty much the same as Dunkin’ Donuts. Although its fans are much more willing to hit that subscribe button, its views are roughly the same and it is not doing much in the way of generating a meaningful audience through video.  Its Q&A series from 4 months ago really looked to be building an audience and increasing  views and engagements, but appears to have been discontinued.

Bringing back that series on regular basis, with a recognizable host, would be an excellent way to thrust themselves ahead of Dunkin’ Donuts in the video space.  Consumers already go to Starbucks for the seemingly higher quality and feel good vibes, now it only needs let the fans know it has all of the knowledge and expertise as well.  It also wouldn’t hurt to add a link to its YouTube channel on its home page and embed the latest video now and again.

Dunkin’ Donuts vs. Starbucks: Social Video

These companies take similar approaches to rolling out video across social networks, with their main social media presence being felt on Facebook. Starbucks has various accounts, but its main one has over 35 million likes, and Dunkin’ Donuts has around 12.5 million likes on its main business page. One major difference between the brands lies between their use of micro-video platforms, Instagram Video and Vine.  Despite the fact that Dunkin’ Donuts only has 51.5k followers on Vine, it has 1.6 million loops. Conversely, Starbucks has over 340k followers on Vine but not a single loop.

Starbucks has 4M followers on Instagram, and although the account is very image-heavy, it does make great use of short-form video to promote specific campaigns or store locations. Dunkin’ Donuts has a much smaller following at just 282K, but tends to use video more frequently, and actively encourages user-generated content via the use of hashtags.

The one thing to take note from these brands when it comes to social media is to jump on a platform, regardless of whether you plan to be active. Ensure that your brand name is controlled by you on every social networking site. If you have an audience, you need to be involved, engaged, and active.

I like to look at social media like a funnel, where the destination is video and ultimately resulting in a satisfied customer.  Social media can certainly earn loyal customers, but when it comes to video I feel it has more power to create a super customer;  somebody who shares in a brand vision and helps you to spread your brand to everyone they come across.

Conclusion: Both Brands Could Do More

As far as video goes, both companies are taking a pretty standard approach.  But standard isn’t
excellent, it’s average.  It’s important in online video to be both regular with content and actively engage the community.  Coffee drinkers are some of the most passionate fans when it comes to getting their morning fix.

Right now, there is no clear winner between these two brands.  Both “get it” in terms of utilizing social media to generate conversation and keep it going, but both are overlooking one of the biggest social networks in YouTube.  Starbucks was on the right path but the real winner between the two will be whoever can pair up regular postings with a face coffee drinkers need to wake up to each day.  Speaking of which, I need a cup of coffee, I’ll be right back…..

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