Krispy Kreme UK CMO Emma Colquhoun on Brand Consistency and Plan to 'Unbox Joy'

A new platform and an out-of-home activation to deliver more light into consumer's lives

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With its glazed doughnut options from the Fudge Brownie Bliss to the Choc Custard, international doughnut and coffee company Krispy Kreme has built its reputation around putting a smile on customers’ faces for the best part of a century. That is a consistent brand purpose that it will aim to evoke across the U.K. through a new platform called “Unbox Joy,” released at the start of the 20th anniversary of when it opened its first store in the country.

“Unbox Joy” was created alongside the company’s newly appointed agency Good Relations and its sister agency VCCP Media, which has revealed what it claims to be a world first with the release of the “SADvert.” This is a 3D interactive billboard—located in Salford in the Northwest of England—that dispenses light therapy to passersby with two bright lights. It also features giant decorative doughnuts from Krispy Kreme’s new 195-calorie range.

With the touch of a button, a light on the board will shine directly at the user in the hope of both lifting their mood and showing off the range of lower-calorie doughnuts during a month when people are more calorie-conscious.

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which negatively impacts the mood of those who are missing lengthy exposures to sunlight. On average, Salford gets less than two hours of sunlight per day during January.

“Our brand has always been about bringing joy and a sparkling smile. So yes, we sell doughnuts, but we really believe we create good times. January is always quite a depressing month after all the fun of Christmas and so it was important to us that we, especially with the cost-of-living crisis, really help to lift the mood of the nation,” explained Emma Colquhoun, chief marketing officer U.K. and Ireland at Krispy Kreme, speaking to Adweek.

Good Relations, VCCP Media, Krispy Kreme

The brand platform itself has been devised to reflect the “magnetic” attraction that the brand believes it has when a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts is brought into an office or group space to be shared.

Our brand has always been about bringing joy and a sparkling smile.

Emma Colquhoun, Krispy Kreme UK CMO

“It’s that generosity of the box and the reveal of the doughnuts inside that really creates that emotional response from consumers,” stated Colquhoun. “From a brand point of view, I think it’s the right moment for our brands to step forward.”

Colquhoun believes that the experience is something that cannot be delivered by any other company, describing Krispy Kreme as “a mass premium brand,” which is why it has grown in the U.K. to over 120 stores and 1,000 cabinets located within retail partners.

The “Unbox Joy” message will now be communicated in-store, and calorie counts will be listed on shelf labels and menu boards. The brand has also recorded vox pop interviews with consumers to run across social media platforms, showcasing the public’s knowledge of the calories contained in the brand’s doughnuts to dispel some myths while also spreading the brand’s message.

The next stage is likely to revolve around Valentine’s Day but plans for celebrating the 20-year anniversary remain a closely guarded secret for now.

Consistent messaging and building loyalty

Krispy Kreme has 12 shops across the south of Ireland and will open five more this year; it will also open its first store in Northern Ireland.

Colquhoun, who is charged with overseeing the communications around those expansions, believes that the brand consistency around the world is down to the focus on its purpose and the role it plays in consumers’ lives, delivering them a moment of “joy” through its core product range.

The main communications are adapted for each local market, which she says offers “a lot of freedom” to be able to drive relevance to customers’ taste, which varies in different markets and cultures.

“It’s a really nice balance: Global brand but locally adapted… making sure that we are truly loved in every market we operate in. That is our mission, to be the most loved brand in every market, and you need to do that with a global lens but with local flexibility, which is how Krispy Kreme has cracked the code on that. But it’s really hard to do.”

To build its loyalty, Krispy Kreme introduced an online rewards program two years ago. It is hosted across both the company website and its app, offering free doughnuts and discounts depending on the number of “smiles” collected. These can be redeemed online and in-store. It also gives members a free doughnut to claim on their birthdays as well.

“We try to approach it in a very rounded way. But for me it’s about making sure it’s worth it for the consumer. That’s everything that I think about every day; how is this experience? How is this touchpoint through us? And never more important than in the economic context that we’re in at the moment,” she added.

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