From today’s news:
Krispy Kreme
“In the quarter ended April 29, the doughnut maker said its net loss was $7.4 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $6 million, or 10 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.”
I saw my first Krispy Kreme franchise five years ago. I had been driving all day and rolled into my destination at 11:00 p.m. My stomach wanted a little something before checking into my hotel so I drove around the bustling block. I saw the Krispy Kreme sign and aimed for it. I had heard a lot about their amazing doughnuts but could not imagine a doughnut being amazing.
When I pulled into the parking lot I was stunned to see a line trailing out of and around the store. A line for doughnuts at 11:00 p.m.?
That’s called buzz. Frankly, the doughnuts at Krispy Kreme are not that good. They are small, too sweet and a bit “doughy”. But they created a buzz by being different. They didn’t create buzz by making a superior doughnut. The stores were fun. You could watch them make fresh doughnuts. Buzz is good. Buzz can rocket a business into prominence and riches.
Then came Atkins. Protein good, carbs bad. The begining of the end. Krispy Kreme could have used the glory years to build new buzz. They could have developed a lower carb, less sugar and reduced fat product during that time. I recall press releases from Krispy Kreme telling us that the anti-carb fad would pass.
The Krispy Kreme fad passed.
You can build a business on buzz. It’s good to be different. It’s important to stay different. Once your new thing becomes mainstream it’s time to develop new ideas that are as far from mainstream as possible. Lots of businesses drown in the mainstream.
Shameless Promotion:  Is your business building buzz? Are you trying to build buzz in the impossible mainstream or off to the side in a clear cool pool of new markets? Could we discuss this? I’d be happy to.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog