Innovating Your Business – The Power of the Brand

Innovating Your Business – The Power of the Brand

Remember back in the 1970’s when generic grocery items were all the rage? The packaging was stark white with black lettering revealing the contents of the package. There’s a reason generic products went away.

You never see a restaurant simply called “Restaurant” or a hotel just called “Hotel.” Yet thousands of donut shop owners across the country have dug deep into their collective creativity… and the best they could come up with for the name of their shops was “DONUTS.”

How about coming up with an actual name for a donut shop for starters? And preferably, a name that either suggests an excellent tasting donut or has some sort of local flair. Here’s a quick list I came up with:

Killer Donuts – Best Darn Donut Shop – Guaranteed GREAT Donuts – Delightful Donuts – Ohio’s Best Donuts

Yes, I know that the sign out front will cost a little more money than the plain vanilla DONUTS one, but remember, we’re trying to take down Krispy Kreme! Spend a little extra dough on the sign. For sake of argument, let’s call our Donut shop Ohio’s Best Donuts. This way we can cater to not just high schools in the area.

Since our theme is Ohio, let’s go ahead and decorate the place with some Ohio flair. Decorating advice should be taken from Starbucks, not from the local snow cone shop. Let’s get some bright colors that make the place look lively, energetic, and fun. Built in bar-type seating around part of the perimeter of the store would be a nice touch. Make the tables and chairs a bit more substantial. Whatever tables and chairs Starbucks has, buy those. And while you’re at it, buy the Starbucks CD collection and play it over built-into-the-ceiling speakers. I know it’s just a donut shop, but it’s not illegal to give the place some ambiance.

Next, let’s hire a graphic designer to create a Ohio’s Best Donuts logo and color scheme. This is important because we’re going to use the logo and color scheme to actually start to brand our donut shop! Instead of using the generic white box to put the donuts in (or even worse, the generic white box with the word DONUTS and the address stamped on the front), let’s instead get boxes printed with the name, logo, and slogan printed on them. Oh yes — the slogan. How about “Not Just The Best Donuts On 3C Highway — The Best Donuts In Ohio.” Don’t you like the not-so-subtle dig on the neighboring giant!?

Next up for branding — signature donuts. Because we’re a local shop, we have lots of flexibility to do whatever we want. For starters, how about a donut that’s roughly TWICE as big as normal donuts. Add to that red, white, and blue glaze (or sprinkles) on them in the pattern of the Ohio flag? We could call it the “Ohio Giant” and sell them by the half dozen instead of the dozen because they’re so freaking big. Now there’s a donut people would go out of their way to buy — and remember.

Now create signature donuts for each of the local high schools. How about a ‘Mighty Comet’ in white and green… and a orange and black ‘Loveland Tigers donut? They could come in “Ohio Giant” size, regular size, and minis. People would go insane to buy these. School spirit and all that!

Then we could produce special occasion donuts — Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, you name it. Has anyone ever looked into making donuts in the shape of letters? How about this strategy… each day of the month they could create a donut with the letter that corresponds to that day of the month (A=1, B=2, etc.) and anyone who can prove their name starts with that letter can come in for a free letter donut that day only. It’s worth a try. And don’t tell me it’s impossible to make a donut shaped like a letter.

So how much would all this branding cost? Certainly a bit more for the sign and furnishings. The logo wouldn’t be too much. And signature donuts? Come on — they don’t cost anything extra. They’re still just donuts! But now we have an identity that people would be interested in. People would remember these donuts — and this donut shop. But we’re just getting started.

Next time – strategy 2

Ted Leithart of Loveland, Ohio, assists businesses when they absolutely, positively need more cash flow (revenue and profits), virtually overnight. To schedule a monetary turn-around for your business, go to or call 513-833-7966.