From the Cronut School of Business: Lessons on Launching Your Startup

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Gabriel Marketing Group

If you aren’t already familiar with the latest foodie fixation that is the cronut, prepare for your mind to be blown. The cronut, as the name would suggest, is a mix between a croissant and a donut–see below. (Warning: The below picture may induce extreme mouth-watering that may render the reader unable to continue reading this post.)

Launched in May, this creation from pastry chef Dominique Ansel still has people lining up around the block as early as 5:30am every morning at his namesake bakery on Spring St. in Manhattan.

“Yes! This certainly looks delicious,” you may be saying to yourself at this point, “But what does a hybrid donut creation have to do with technology marketing?”

Well, actually, the cronut craze can teach us quite a few things about launching a new startup or technology. Here are some key marketing tactics that Ansel has nailed with the cronut:

Play to your differences.

Parisian-born Ansel is a long way from home in his NYC kitchen. As he shared during his appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” being French, he didn’t have a lot of recipes for the ever-popular American donut. He did, however, have many a croissant recipe, thus inspiring the hybrid croissant-donut.

Lesson:  You won’t stand out in a crowded marketplace by mimicking or emulating even the most successful of your competitors. Use your individual expertise to create unique points of differentiation, and blaze your own trail by highlighting what makes your product or service offering unique.


Create an experience.

Ansel’s bakery produces only 350 cronuts per day. People are literally waking up at the crack of dawn to wait in line in the hopes of getting their hands on this tasty treat, never knowing whether or not that day will be the day their breakfast pastry dreams will be realized.  The limited availability of the cronut has made it the food equivalent a spotting a unicorn, creating a unique personal brand experience for each customer–something they can hold on to long after they’ve eaten their cronut.

Lesson: Realize that your brand encompasses much more than just the product or service you offer. Your goal should be to create memorable brand experiences at each and every customer touch point.


Don’t sacrifice quality.

If cronuts weren’t completely amazing people wouldn’t be willing to wait in line for hours to buy them, and Ansel has done a great job of keeping focus on what’s most important–the quality of his cronut. And don’t be mistaken, Ansel doesn’t simply throw a croissant in a fryer and call it day (or, more aptly, a cronut). He spent nearly two months perfecting the recipe to create the perfect dough and three-day process it takes to make just one cronut.

Lesson: It takes time, patience, and expertise to create a quality offering. Don’t skimp on research and testing in a rush to bring your product or service to market. Time well spent on creating a quality product will pay off down the line in the form of satisfied, repeat customers.

As with any hot new startup, the challenge ahead for the cronut lies in its staying power. While it’s likely the buzz will eventually die down, Ansel has already begun to lay the groundwork for bringing customers back into the bakery, such as the introduction of new cronut flavors every month, and his latest creation, the frozen s’more.

From the Blog

Leah Nurik