Why Krispy Kreme resonates with millennials

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As attendees at Retail’s BIG Show bit into the perfect, sweet simplicity of a glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut during the day’s first sessions, Dwayne Chambers, the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts CMO, was smiling. The company’s mission, to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is a Krispy Kreme doughnut, is one that Chambers relishes. For Krispy Kreme, joy and simplicity have been the keys to success, even as the company embraces new technology, expands across the world and explores social media.

At 75 years old, Krispy Kreme isn’t a fresh and hip start-up or a disruptive industry force. It uses the original old recipe and even some original machinery. But with more than 4.5 million raving Facebook fans, stores in 24 countries around the world and 15 consecutive quarters of growth, Krispy Kreme knows how to attract and retain millennials (that highly sought-after generation of consumers born between 1977 and 1996).

In his session, Chambers, joined by Barkley’s Jeff Fromm, shared a few things Krispy Kreme found resonate with millennials.

Keep it simple. Rather than trying to encourage a new behavior with its mobile app, Krispy Kreme focused on something customers already love – the Hot Light that tells drivers-by that the doughnuts are hot. Krispy Kreme’s app keeps it simple, alerting users when hot doughnuts are nearby.

You don’t need to run the show. Chambers knows that experiences with Krispy Kreme’s products are about more than Krispy Kreme, “I don’t own the brand. I’m a steward of it. When we try to control brand too much, we stifle it. We want our fans to own the brand.”

Whether it’s a dad sharing a special morning with his kids, or people enthusiastically using Krispy Kreme doughnuts in their own bizarre concoctions, “we’re just happy getting the doughnuts out and enhancing someone’s morning,” Chambers said. It’s more important to contribute to someone’s joy than try to control the brand.

Be authentic. Don’t just get on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and everything else simply because they’re there, Chambers says. It has to be right for you. When you do engage, be true to your brand. For example, promotions for “Talk Like a Pirate Day” spread through social media because they fit the brand’s fun-loving nature.

Be transparent. The Krispy Kreme Theater, or the glass-walled open kitchen that allows customers to view operations, was designed for just that – theater. But millennials love it for a different reason—the transparency of it. Nothing’s hidden from view, even all that sugar.

For more about consumer insights that help drive successful strategies like Krispy Kreme’s, check out this data-filled snapshot of the millennial consumer.

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