Why Krispy Kreme Is All In on the Creator Economy

David has worked for some of America's biggest brands, including Scania, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods. But his current role as chief brand officer at Krispy Kreme follows a 3-and-a-half-year stint as the company's chief marketing officer, which has produced some of his most memorable marketing successes. attempts.

„It's fascinating and I love it,” Schena said of the creator economy, noting that it's a boon for the company and will be around for decades. „Influencers are always there, and brands with great products always benefit from them.”

In Krispy Kreme's case, much of the influencer content is organic, and the brand counts some big names as fans, including Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and the Kardashians.

„It's important to find creators who share a real relationship with the brand because it's real,” Schena said.

But brand building doesn't operate in a silo. „I've always believed it's a false choice between growing the brand or growing sales,” he said. „You both need to grow in everything you do.”

When using paid influencers, Krispy Kreme carefully measures impact to understand what it's getting for its investment. Schena explained that with each Krispy Kreme campaign, his team evaluates ROI, whether the campaign drove traffic to stores and made money, including all labor and ingredient costs.

„Marketing plays an important role in driving traffic, and the operations team is integral in driving repeatability,” added Schena. „Give customers the experience you promise and the machine will keep running.”

At the peak of the pandemic, many high school students lost the final months of their senior years. As part of Krispy Kreme's Acts of Joy initiative, it gave away a dozen donuts to all seniors who visited the stores. This is more than just a clever PR move.

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„Our brand is about sharing,” Scana said. “We told our high school students what we were saying, no strings attached. They shared those donuts with friends and then they came to visit us. Success was seen in numbers.

That grassroots example was joined by a vivid, high-profile partnership with Hailey Bieber last year, in which Krispy Kreme shut down its much-trafficked Times Square store for several hours to host an influencer event. Bieber introduced a few dozen creatives and influencers to his skincare line ROAD and its new Strawberry Glaze Peptide Lip Treatment, a product inspired by Krispy Kreme's Strawberry Glazed Donut.

Those creators then shared the experience with their own followers, creating a snowball effect that featured the brand in widespread coverage, from popular social accounts to mainstream media.

As part of the initiative, Krispy Kreme brought back its strawberry glazed donut — first introduced in 2020 and last offered in 2021 — for a few days over Labor Day weekend, adding a physical, revenue-driving anchor to the campaign. .

Marketing is always changing, but the most successful brands find authentic ways to join the contemporary conversation. Today, Schena said, that means embracing symbiotic partnerships with creators who share your brand's values.

„Creators have positive human qualities of sharing, generosity, thoughtfulness and real-life human connection,” said Scana, noting the natural overlap with Krispy Kreme's core principles. „We're a physical product that brings people together, and that's a good thing to have in the influencer and creator world.”

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