"America Runs on Dunkin" goes the tagline. Now, apparently, Dunkin' Donuts has added a new site: www.DunkinRun.com, that is being touted by the company as a new venture in social media, as recently reported in MediaPost'. "The designated 'runner' can now initiate a group order through the site via computer, mobile device or a free iPhone app downloaded from the iTunes Store," according to the report. Interesting, to say the least.

Here's how it works: the "runner" sends an alert to his group that a trip to Dunkin' is being planned. Group members, at the office or in the neighborhood, can then check out the menu online and "order" through an interactive program. All of the orders are combined into one single online page. The runner can then either print out the order for Dunkin' Donuts order takers or hand them their mobile device so they can view it. The idea: a more accurate, more quickly filled order.
Okay. . .but this raises some questions. First: has Dunkin' really thought this through? I mean, if this is a "social media app" in the company's view, rather than a mere convenient service, why doesn't it go further? Why can't orders be actually filled for pick-up at the correct location for a specific time, for example? Why can't customers and brand loyalists form a community around this new site, conversing with each other and with Dunkin'?
Of course, the company says it's planning to add direct order placement in the future, but is it a good idea to wait, or will the site as is become blasé so that if more features are added later, consumers will have already moved on?
According to the article, the new site is being promoted "to influential press and bloggers, and customers who are heavy users of its loyalty cards are being mailed special preloaded cards. The marketing plan also includes radio promotions and advertising, online advertising, messages integrated into Dunkin's sponsorship of the Boston Red Sox (remember they're based in Canton, Massachusetts) and advertising in elevators in key office buildings in Boston (where Dunkin' has its highest concentration of locations".
But what's your take on this whole foray by DD into the social media sphere?
Do you think this new site and a free app for the iPhone will be embraced by brand loyalists? Or do you think it will be received in a lukewarm manner?
What do you think DD could have done differently with its new site? What opportunities is the company missing?
Would you personally interface with a site like this and encourage your social media groups to join? If not, why not?
I'd love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni