How to create a Looooonging for Doughnuts

Queue at The Doughnut Vault

A shop called “The Doughnut Vault” in Chicago has made it a habit to close their doors early when they run out of their sweet treats, as reports.  Apparently it happens almost every day.  So why don’t they increase production to grow sales, you might ask? Why risk to permanently turn-off customers?  Well, the owners might actually be onto something.

Capping production at 600 might turn out to be the smarter way to create a differentiating image and grow your earnings rather than churning out more doughnuts. In other words it can be a way to ‘classify’ an otherwise fairly common offering.  This is because when us humans see others queue up in front of a store, it arouses interest. Most conclude that a desirable good (or service) must be provided in this store.  To hear that the store will close once it runs out of product only works to heighten the perceived desirability and urgency to own a piece of the scarce good.  Martin Lindstorm might add that seeing others visibly excited to finally consume or carry away the priced doughnuts might excite our ‘mirror neurons’ to an extend that we can no longer resist.  If we can’t get them today, we will come back tomorrow – with our friends. The shop name “Doughnut Vault” supports the perception that these doughnuts are precious (and reveals that the owners are not simply bad but lucky business people).

We have not been to the store and tasted their wares.  But we can assume that they ARE quite good.  Nobody would stand in line twice if they were below average in taste.  But the scarcity created is sure to increase our perceived enjoyment in owning and consuming them and makes us forget how much they are…  How much are they, actually?  Smart when you want to move a common good from mass closer to class.


We couldn’t resist and found out the price – $3.00 or about 3x the price at Dunkin’ Doughnuts.  And the pictures (below) show that we could also use this case to illustrate how telling an authentic brand story (“about honest, hand-made doughnut”) move you even further to class.   The smell of the place – in every sense of the word – will be strong support.

Credit for all pictures: The Doughnut Vault  Tumblr site

About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is a global business leader and brand builder with a 25+ year track record of translating consumer and brand insights into transformational propositions that win in market. Principal at ‘Ueber-Brands’ a New York consulting firm, he now helps others to elevate brands and make them peerless and priceless. JP also teaches brand strategy at NYU Stern and Columbia Business School and leads the Marketing Institute at The Conference Board, all in New York. Jp previously was Executive Vice President at Frédéric Fekkai & Co, a prestige salon operator and hair care brand and lead brand- and corporate strategy development and execution at multinational Procter & Gamble as Brand Director and Director of Strategy. JP and Wolf Schaefer have co-authored the best-selling books “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” which lays out what drives the success of modern premium brands and "Brand Elevation - Lessons in Ueber-Branding" a guide to developing and executing a brand elevation strategy. Find the books here:
This entry was posted in 4 - Behold! - The product as manifestation, 6 - Un-Sell - The superiority of seduction, D - 'Masstige' Moves and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to create a Looooonging for Doughnuts

  1. Got very useful info!


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