King Cakes: A Lesson in Brand Positioning
February 16, 2017
In the words of Al Johnson, “it’s Carnival Time” and not only is everybody “havin’ fun,” everybody is devouring king cake.
Twelfth Night marks the official start of Carnival season and, for the most devout king cake enthusiast, the first day one can “technically” start eating the New Orleans delicacy. There is certainly no shortage of options when it comes to king cakes in the region. Feel like a muffaletta king cake? Check. Craving a peanut butter and banana filled cake? Got it. Looking for one that’s super sparkly and shiny? Yep. Got a hankering for something more traditional? Definitely. There are so many options out there, how can one king cake cut through the clutter?
At Bond Moroch, we specialize in differentiating our clients in a crowded marketplace, ensuring that they standout so they can grow. We work with clients to determine their competitive differentiation, develop messaging surrounding these key points, and, through a marketing strategy, position them in the market to build a customer base and brand loyalty.
For example, there is no shortage of cinnamon-laced, cream cheesed-filled, icing topped, purple-green-and-gold-sprinkled king cakes. How can a traditional king cake stand out among a crowd? I’m loving what Haydel’s has been doing for the last three years. Their differentiator: Accessibility. This uptown girl doesn’t need to trek out to Jefferson Highway to stand in line for a cake. I can visit one of three Haydel’s pop-up locations to get my fix. The pop up craze is old news, but I’m still loving the accessibility Haydel’s has created in the NOLA market. Plus, they’re creating new revenue streams beyond their online store and brick-and-mortar location. Bravo.
Those folks in the business should naturally market to the fervor of the fanatics and intensely loyal king cake lovers. If you’re going to make a king cake, make THE king of king cakes. There’s nothing wrong with positioning yourself as the most glutinous of the bunch. It’s Mardi Gras – let’s go hog wild (yes, there are many versions with bacon, too) before Lent! Thank you Kingfish for your Mardi Foie king cake creation. Duck fat brioche, duck fat icing, and a foie gras topper. Yes, please. Oh, Willa Jean, your Valrhona caramelized milk chocolate espresso king cake is so incredible. The scale doesn’t like you, but I sure do.
There’s no doubt that one of the most brand-loyal king cakes is Manny Randazzo’s. Randazzo’s has created such a following, it’s no wonder they top the lists every year. They consistently deliver on their promise of a solid cake and the consistent line outside the door is certainly buzz worthy. I mean, there’s a line – it MUST be good.
So as this Carnival season heats up this weekend, where will you get your king cake and what drove you there?
Jennifer Bond is a Partner at Bond Moroch and is still a fan of the old McKenzie’s Bakery traditional king cake (sold at Tastees).