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 is a proven business leader, recognized strategy expert and global brand builder. He has a 20+ year track record of successfully creating, re-staging and growing brands and their organizations around the world. Before co-founding Ueber-Brands Consulting, JP served as Managing Director of Global Strategy & Innovation, Premium Consumer at Procter & Gamble and was Executive Vice President of Frédéric Fekkai, a global prestige brand and fully owned subsidiary of P&G. He is also an External Director of Smith & Norbu, a Hong Kong-based luxury optical frame maker. JP has co-authored the bestselling “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” with Wolf Schaefer, which is quickly becoming a marketers reference book. JP is regularly involved in public speaking and teaching across industries and markets in English, French or German language. JP and Wolf’s blog and podcast ‘Ueber-Brands’ and related events are sought-after by brand builders and marketing leaders around the world. He has been named ‘Inspirational Marketer of the Year’ by the Association of National Advertisers/The Internationalist among other awards. Based out of New York City, JP is on the advisory board and a guest lecturer at the Masters Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (NY), an advisory board member of the CMO Council (San Jose), L2 Inc. (NY) and L2 Inc. (NY).
Gallery | This entry was posted in 4 - Behold! - The product as manifestation, 6 - Un-Sell - The superiority of seduction, C - 'Masstige' Moves and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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