best practice brand strategy case study:
All we saw were lights.
I knew they weren’t the celebratory kind because they’d be accompanied by balloons, signs, music, and maybe some confetti, right?
And if it was an emergency, I certainly couldn’t decipher which kind since the lights had no sound and they weren’t going anywhere.
Despite their stillness, the disco-like rotation of them nearly blinded us.
But, we’re in the suburbs!
It was our anniversary and we had already prayed for calm children, a smooth ride, and zero drama. Plus it was only 5 pm and the sun was still out.
WHY WERE SO MANY POLICE IN THIS SHOPPING PLAZA WITH FLASHING RED AND BLUE LIGHTS ON?
My parents house, where our kids are, is just 5 minutes away from this scene. Do they know what’s happening? Is it on the news?
Six police cars surrounded half the plaza bordering the Giant grocery store and the gas station. No one could enter the parking lot from the main entrance or exit to Route 301. There was one way in and one way out. All other paths were taped off and physically blocked by a blue and red barricade.
Was this an active shooter situation? A crime scene under investigation? A hostage negotiation in progress? An officer down? Or some yet-to-be-reported suburban horror story playing out as we were driving by to pick up our barbecue?
I googled to find the answer.
The explanation for all of the lights was found in just two words.
They would also make sense of the half mile backup of cars that grazed the highway exit waiting to pass through the single lane entry into the plaza – cars filled with faces that somehow didn’t seem alarmed.
Now, why didn’t I think of that!?
Yesterday, Krispy Kreme launched its “Celebrate Your Grad” promotion, offering a FREE “Graduate Dozen” of specially-decorated donuts to graduating high school seniors across the ENTIRE COUNTRY.
If you fit the bill, all you had to do was wait in line with a cap and gown (or some other proof of your status).
The line at the Krispy Kreme drive-thru near my parents’ house was so long that it required traffic redirection, entryway barricades, and county police escort. In Long Beach, California, a three-block traffic jam ensued that required emergency police intervention.
All in the name of complimentary sugar highs.
I THINK IT’S GENIUS BEST PRACTICE BRAND STRATEGY.
And not because of the themed dough decor or even the nationwide “free offer” tactic. Let’s be real – on-the-house overdoses such as this are not novel concepts.
I think it’s genius because the brand offered a simple answer to one nationwide loaded question that was never even directed toward them …
HOW CAN WE?
How can we celebrate in a time of crisis?
How can we recognize our graduates who will no longer have a ceremony?
How can we put a smile on the faces of our children who aren’t able to see their friends before heading off to college?
How can we say, ‘Job well done’?
Krispy Kreme’s answer injected a major dose of joy into a present-day society filled with news and rules that offers everything but that.
And for the next generation stepping into adulthood during such a season, this little sprinkle of sugar made the moment something to truly remember – for good reason.
NOW, ASK YOURSELF HOW YOU CAN DO THE SAME.
What kind of loaded questions are people asking that your brand can answer through its products or services? How can YOU inject a little something unexpected into society, your community, or your customers’ lives?