HOT NOW! Can Krispy Kreme’s new marketing strategy help the arts?

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ah, the sweet enticement of the glowing "Hot now" sign at your local KK. As a gal who lived in the south for a good portion of her life, I can recognize not only the deep-seated love of Krispy Kreme’s product line is its customers, but also the connection to the brand that many of the customers have.

Krispy Kreme has recently adopted a new way of marketing themselves- by streamlining the ad agencies they use, decreasing the amount they spend on marketing, and relying on fans to use word-of-mouth and social media to spread awareness of their products. Says their CMO, Dwayne Chambers: "I don’t own the brand and the idea that I ever owned the brand is really kind of stupid." So, allowing little old ladies to crochet the brand on potholders is only helping Krispy Kreme’s presence in the market, not hindering their control of it. (You can read more about this new approach by KK in Ad Age).

This reminds me a lot of Harley-Davidson’s marketing strategy, where the fans have created a hog lifestyle– and the company itself hasn’t paid diddly for it. In fact, Harley gains revenue off of licensing their brand to create lifestyle products. But, you rarely see a Harley ad or commercial. In fact, in 1995, Harley-Davidson had more than $1.3 billion in revenues and spent less than $2 million in advertising.

So, how is the Krispy Kreme or Harley-Davidson approach to marketing applicable to the arts? Well, the idea that the arts are a lifestyle– and the idea that you don’t own your brand– is a direct lesson. If a symphony can get a wave of interested people touting the greatness of the orchestra for them, they can drastically cut their advertising costs. A transition into word-of-mouth marketing can allow an arts organization to create a lifestyle of arts attendees without the huge investment of time and ever-precious capital.

The REAL question is how you get people crocheting YOUR arts organization’s logo onto a potholder or spreading the word organically. And that, my friends, is another post for another day.

-Jen

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