OK – I must admit, at first I was pretty disgusted by the story of the world’s most expensive doughnut.
Baker Björn Delacruz at the Manila Social Club Restaurant in Williamsburg clearly thought he’d struck gold when he realised there is a market for pretty much anything, as long as you label it “luxury” – even if it does entail making a doughnut filled with Cristal jelly and purple Ube mousse, covered in opulent 24 karat gold flakes.
At $100 a pop, these doughnuts are not the typical treats you’d pass round the office on a Friday afternoon. They are, however – apparently – popular with a certain clientele at the Manila Social Club and demand has been on a steady up since the story surfaced in First We Feast.
Once I’d got my head accustomed to the fact that this is a real product, bought by real people, it dawned on me just how genius this marketing stab actually is. Not only has Mr Delacruz invented something truly unique (I mean, who would ever think to combine the world’s most working class snack with precious metals and a Hollywood-elite beverage?) but he has also instantly positioned himself as someone who truly cares about the people who are prepared to pay a hundred bucks for a piece of pastry. That niche is now his.
He will now not only be overrun by wealthy gourmands, but attract the curious attention of those who perhaps want a sniff of that good life for a few moments. And the great thing is that even when the novelty of the golden doughnut withers, he will always be remembered as the guy who created it.
When we build our own products and solutions, we sometimes overlook the fact that there could be an opportunity to address a different market – or in some cases, create a different market – by simply going for luxury. A typical service or product offering will have basic, standard and premium levels, catering for different audiences. But how often do we actually aim to provide a luxury experience? How often do we go out of our way to create a service or product so uniquely bespoke and lavish, that we suddenly open the door to a whole new audience, namely an audience with thick wallets?
It may not be for you. It may not be aligned with your brand. But isn’t it worth experimenting with the thought of being well positioned against a wealthy market? After all, they may be the ones who actually spend money when nobody else does.