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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 7, 2019 3 years ago

Cooking up sweet local success for national doughnut brand

With no connections in Southwest Florida, the region's first Krispy Kreme franchisee turned to an established "brand architecture" firm to hype its grand opening. It sold 1 million donuts in week one.
by: Andrew Warfield Staff Writer

Organization: Spiro & Associates. Founded in 1989 by CEO and Chief Creative Officer Christopher Spiro, the full-service creative boutique, based in Fort Myers, works to achieve success for its clients through creative leadership, market insight and facilitating collaborations among business leaders in the market.

For Spiro, though, the idea is the thing. 

“An ad agency is an ad agency is an ad agency,” Spiro says. “What stands out, No. 1, is the creative product, the idea. No. 2, you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don't have the strategy to execute the idea, it falls down. No. 3 is service. We're in the service business. But the idea is what we hold up and measure all things by.”

Client: Krispy Kreme of South Florida, a Fort Lauderdale-based franchisee for the famous “Hot Doughnuts Now” chain headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. The franchisee opened the first Krispy Kreme location in Southwest Florida, on U.S. 41 north of Page Field near Edison Mall in Fort Myers. Krispy Kreme of South Florida also owns and operates nine locations from Miami to Palm Beach.

Task: While Krispy Kreme is well-known in other regions of the U.S. and on the Southeast Florida coast, the deep-fried confection was unknown to many in Southwest Florida. Spiro & Associates was engaged to raise awareness of Krispy Kreme, promote the brand’s entry into the marketplace and leverage the agency’s ties in the market to establish relationships with local government and organizations for fundraising activities — a core market sector for Krispy Kreme.

Spiro & Associates developed the image of a pelican wearing a Krispy Kreme hat with a doughnut in its bill, which became a popular T-shirt design for the Fort Myers Krispy Kreme store. Courtesy Spiro & Associates.

“It’s not difficult to get people excited about doughnuts,” says Spiro. “The real challenge was executing a grand opening with results worthy of this savory national brand.”

To accomplish that, the agency provided marketing, promotional support and coordination for “Friends & Family Day,” the grand opening and the ribbon-cutting ceremony, by enlisting the help of local dignitaries, media representatives and other area celebrities. These included Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, former Mayor James Humphrey, television personalities and other city council members. That generated pre- and post-event exposure.

A branded T-shirt created to commemorate the grand opening became a commodity nearly as hot as the doughnuts themselves. The first 100 customers received one free of charge, and it was also available for purchase. The design of the shirt showcased a gray and white pelican clad in a Krispy Kreme cap with a doughnut on its bill.

Challenges: Although the family business headed by Jim Cosentino has extensive experience in the restaurant industry, most recently with an emphasis on its Krispy Kreme franchises on Florida's east coast, the Cosentinos had little knowledge about Fort Myers — other than that they perceived a void in the market. With minimal local connections, the family sought to partner with a local firm to help generate excitement and build momentum leading up to the grand opening. 

Spiro & Associates arranged for Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson (left) and city councilman Cecil Pendergrass to box the first dozen doughnuts during Krispy Kreme's grand opening. Courtesy Spiro & Associates

To achieve that objective, Spiro & Associates collaborated with two local influencers who launched a Facebook page, “Bring Krispy Kreme to Fort Myers.” The page’s more than 2,000 followers helped round out efforts to promote the new location and opening-day festivities. The agency’s public relations team also leveraged its relationships with local legacy media to provide more exposure.

Outcome: Delivered measurables included reaching 314,000 social media users and generating roughly 12,000 responses specific to the grand opening events. Facebook Live updates in advance of the grand opening engaged 83,000 viewers. A contest to be among 100 winners of free doughnuts for a year brought a crowd of 650 prior to the grand opening, including 450 who camped out outside the restaurant overnight. 

The buzz continued well after the grand opening, with the location setting a company record by selling more than 907,000 doughnuts in its first week.


Read all of the Business Observer's 2019 marketing issue articles: 

Marketing executives helped build brand behind innovative health care tech company

St. Pete firm rebrands iconic beer company's new line

Zoo roars into new era with name, logo change

Saddle up: Local bourbon brand has a story to tell

Promoting iconic restaurant opening is all fun and games

New kind of senior residence blows into town

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