Avi Dan writes at Forbes.com that Dunkin Donuts, one of the world’s best-known brands, is boasting strong results as it returned to profitability last year, and growth accelerated to 7.4% in the 4th Quarter of 2011, with a lift from strong beverage sales, limited-time breakfast sandwich offerings and sales of K-Cup pre-portions packs.

Dunkin’ Brands Group, the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and sister company Baskin-Robbins, has more than 16,500 points of distribution in nearly 60 countries worldwide. The company is one of the world’s leading franchisers of quick service restaurants (QSR). Dunkin’ Brands’ is nearly 100 percent franchised.

The man in charge of generating demand for the Dunkin’s brands is John Costello, GlobalChief Marketing and Innovation Officer. Costello was previously CMO of Home Depot, Sears and Pepsi. He started his career with Procter & Gamble, where I first met him almost 30 years ago, when he managed P&G’s shampoo business and I was his agency counterpart.

What’s your overall approach to marketing?

First and foremost, we believe in a strong commitment to innovation. That means really understanding what the customer’s needs are, and meeting them. The second area is making sure that the brand is differentiated, through communications and product offerings. And third, close collaboration with our franchisees. I think that the basic principle to every thing we do, especially in the area of communications, is simplicity.

How important is it to constantly refresh the menu?

Actually, our approach is to combine familiarity and excitement. People shop their favorite restaurants, but once in a while they also want to try new things. So the nature of the business is to hold unto your loyal customers with regular menu items, and add new ones to induce non-loyalists to stop by. Right now, for example, we added the Angus steak and eggs sandwich.

Read More at: Forbes.com