Voodoo Doughnut and Branding

By: Nickie Harber-Frankart

OrangeBoy President Sandy Swanson visited the Portland office this week. Wanting to share something uniquely Portland with her, I took her to Voodoo Doughnut, a Portland doughnut shop made famous by its odd flavor combinations and shapes. For example, the voodoo doll doughnut filled with red raspberry jelly and a pretzel stake through the chest; the Mango Tango doughnut filled with mango filling topped orange Tang; or my personal favorite, the Maple Bacon Bar with maple-flavored frosting topped with two strips of bacon.

Voodoo Doughnut truly embraces the culture of Portland and the City’s slogan: “Keep Portland Weird.” It is no wonder then that Portland named Voodoo Doughnut’s Portland Crème the official doughnut of the City in 2008.

The doughnuts have become so popular locally and nationally that it is common to see a constant stream of people (sometimes with long lines flowing outside the door), waiting to order doughnuts morning, noon or even in the middle of the night.

Talk about building a successful brand.

Pink boxes, doughnut-filled wooden coffins, and a ghoulish logo are just a few things that illustrate this one-of-a-kind brand. Beyond that, the experience is quirky (pink everywhere, coffin-shaped seating, and even a place to hold weddings), creating interest from the moment the customer walks in the door.

A successful brand and customer experience, such as the one created by Voodoo Doughnut, stems from the vision of the company’s leaders. Owners Tres and Cat Daddy recognized the need for a doughnut shop in Portland, so they set out to create one—one so unique that it would eventually reinvent the doughnut industry. Who ever thought that would be possible? (Just think about the last time you were at a grocery store. Did you see a cereal-covered doughnut? Well, that was because of Voodoo Doughnut.)

Great brands demonstrate to customers what a company does or can do better than any other company can. The overall experience and everything about the brand defines how a company delivers on that promise. Voodoo Doughnut, for example, promises customers, “Good things come in pink boxes.” Every time a customer opens a Voodoo Doughnut box, they can expect the same quality and good doughnuts. And, every time they walk in the door, they can expect the same quirky experience. I think any brand that delivers that level of consistency and drives awareness and loyalty like Voodoo Doughnut is a success. Check them out the next time you are in Portland.

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2012

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One thought on “Voodoo Doughnut and Branding

  1. Thx for your post, I really enjoy your blog. Long time lurker, first time commenter, you know the drill. I tried to share this one time before, I don’t think it posted correctly…hopefully it will this time!

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