Pt. II Dunkin Donuts vs. Italy’s Favorite Coffee

This blog post is a follow up post in response to last Tuesday’s post from Dunkin Donuts vs. Italy’s Favorite Coffee. We posted the below two photos and asked you this question in regards to two images that we took when in the CT airport the other week:

Why is it that everyone was in line for Dunkin’ Donuts coffee… but no one was in line for Cafe Lavazza – Italy’s FAVORITE coffee?”


There were some great thoughts posted on the blog, lots with REALLY valid points from branding to product consistency to customer service. Thanks to commenter Doug, we even got the view from his friend who works in the coffee industry (Starbucks to be even more specific). It’s interesting how his friend got all down and specific with the coffee in regards to the consumers preferring maybe a sweeter taste over a more bold taste… but we think Liz ultimately nailed it on the head. She wrote, “Brand recognition can even trump a superior product…“


Read it again, Brand recognition can even trump a superior product…“

About 3 months ago we blogged about the Law of Leadership, taken from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Jack Trout & Al Ries), and what we are looking at here with Dunkin vs. Little Italy is a case study of exactly this. This law essentially states that it is better to be first in someone’s mind than to be better.

Dunkin Donuts built a powerful coffee brand and became the #1 coffee in people’s minds (at least in the North East ;). Little Italy comes in and thinks, “Hey, I think I have better coffee. We offer, x, y, and z and it’s Italy’s favorite coffee for crying out loud! Heck, we should even tell people that by having it say so in our name.” And so we have little Italy trying to compete with Dunkin… The reason it doesn’t work is because regardless if their coffee is better, bolder, stronger, thinner, darker –WHATEVER it may be – Dunkin will always be #1 in the consumer’s minds that Dunkin has already reached, and they will continue to stay with Dunkin.

“So how does this apply to me and my business?” you wonder.

Glad you asked! Quoting Zach from our January post he says, “Most photographers that we have met over the years all come to a similar conclusion about photography and business. That if you have the best photos, you will get business. So, we spend all of our time, money and energy working on our craft trying to be the best, original, most creative photographer on the wedding photography planet, only to see jobs go to the guy who we know stinks! ‘But, look at his color, his composition,’ we say! ‘Why would you choose him over me?!’ Because of the Law of Leadership states ’it is better to be first, then to be best.’ What this law of marketing means, is that consumers don’t care if you are better, they only care about who they know, or who gets into their mind first. If that is not you, then it does not matter how good your ‘product’ is. They won’t buy it.”

So what does this mean?

As Zach said, “It is not nearly enough to have ‘better’ photos than the next guy. That won’t get you jobs day in and day out. Can you book a few jobs based on how “good” you are? Maybe. But you can’t sustain it long term without having this first law in effect. If you can be known to your prospects and get into their minds first, then you can win the marketing game. People will stick with what they have.”

What makes our point oh-so-much sweeter is as I (Jody) was taking a photo of Café Lavazza for this blog post that I was already mentally starting to write, a woman came up to me and asked , “Are you familiar with this coffee?” I turned to her with an abnormally big smile on my face (little did she know it was because I knew she was about to become the little red bow to my beautifully packaged blog post), and I said, “No, I haven’t.” She turned around, and walked right to Dunkin Donuts to stand in line. I could have hugged her… or at least bought her a crappy cup of Dunkin coffee ;) (Kidding, kidding!)

This woman was willing to stand in a long line for an average cup of coffee (and maybe a donut hole or two ;) because she was familiar with it.

As you drink coffee this morning, pass by a Dunkin Donuts, or maybe make the same kinds of choices throughout your day that this woman did, think about your own business and how you can be FIRST in what you do.

Thanks for reading!

PS. For the record, we got some of Café Lavazza’s coffee and it wasn’t very good… Italy has bad taste. ;o)

PSS. Make sure to check out the full Law of Leadership blog post for more insight.

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