There are very few brands that can get away with changing their name without comments from their consumers. What if we told you that the brand itself wasn’t the deciding party in a name change? Would you believe us? Before you answer, let’s dive a little deeper into the name-changing journey of two big brands: Weight Watchers to WW and Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’.
Weight Watchers announced earlier this month that they’re ditching their full name and becoming WW. Along with the announcement of the name, WW is also switching the brand’s mission to now focus on wellness versus weight loss. WW has partnered with apps and other brands to expand to emotional and spiritual health rather than solely physical aspects in an effort to bring new wellness education and opportunities to clients. This ties in well with the cultural shift to prioritizing overall wellness. We love the idea behind the change but fear the simple name change will be a barrier for clients recognizing the greater mission.
Next, we have good ole Dunkin’ Donuts, or, Dunkin’. While this brand name also derived from the original name, the shift in brand focus is clearer than we see in WW. It’s no secret that Dunkin’ has been moving away from their donut roots in recent years with new breakfast and lunch options, including health conscious selections and expanded coffee offerings. Even the marketing we’ve seen in the last few years has mentioned Dunkin’, not Dunkin’ Donuts. But, this is where we come to our original question- did the marketing team decide to slowly introduce the name change to consumers or did consumers’ shortening of the brand name slowly introduce the idea to the marketing team? We vote that consumers, the original users of the name Dunkin’, cemented the idea into the brand and we also salute the brand for adapting.
While the question is slightly more apparent in the Dunkin’ situation, we can’t give the credit of name change to the WW team either. Any successful brand will tell you that at the core of their decisions is the consumer. The feelings, interests, thoughts, etc. of the consumer are ever changing, and it is up to a brand to change with them, to evolve into what they need when they need it. WW saw the need for a more holistic approach to health and has begun offering what consumers want. It looks like Dunkin’s team listened to their consumers and adapted their brand to fit their needs as well.
At the end of the day, the customer/consumer/client come first even when dealing with branding.