Social media is an amazing tool. In the District Doughnut world, it is incredibly important, as it has proven a free marketing, business development, and customer-relation development engine. On a rainy day this past fall, after comparing the delivery schedule with the remaining doughnuts, Greg and Will realized they had commissioned Chef Christine and Sous Chef Olivia to make too many doughnuts. Rather than waste their doughnut-crafting diligence (or admit our weakness in simple arithmetic), we began to engage Twitter in a new way: as a direct-to-customer sales and giveaway outlet.
Ready for an example of entrepreneurial brilliance? Here was our master plan: “Retweet us, and we’ll deliver you free doughnuts.” What a clever marketing and PR campaign, right? What began as an attempt to salvage a schedule miscommunication has become our favorite way to spread both our District Doughnuts and the District Doughnut style of service. We like to joke that the “Retweet” button essentially becomes a “Make Doughnuts Appear” button; if you’re honest, can you think of anything better?
One of our loyal Twitter supporters who works at CNN was one of the first test subjects in our doughnuts-on-demand experiment. Last Tuesday, he generously offered to thank us by taking us into the studio, showing us around, and introducing us to some of the producers and staff. Of course, we could barely contain our excitement at such an ideal opportunity to win over a few more hearts (and mouths). This time we immediately put it on the order schedule for Christine and Olivia.
When Friday arrived, the Argentine-inspired Dulce de Leche, the simple yet perfectly delightful Brown Butter, and the tartly refreshing Lemon Meringue were prepared fresh and ready for CNN’s enjoyment.After registering at the security desk, Greg and I received our guest badges and were feeling quite official. Our “CNN Insider” took us on a tour, which included The Situation Room, the ”Crossfire” studio, several programming rooms, and a few “talking head” guest studios. At the end of the tour, we were escorted to the producers’ offices and greeted by the beloved Wolf Blitzer and his Situation Room team.
Wolf was very welcoming and thrilled to meet us, introducing us to his team of excellent people (one of whom is an excited future neighbor of ours on Barracks Row!) We gave our best sales pitch, which usually amounts to Greg giving numerous unnecessary details, until he simply says, “Just try one, everybody.”
We are still amazed how such an incredible experience occurred because of a simple Retweet. We are reminded each day, with each doughnut that we serve, with each customer interaction we have, that you really never know what can happen with a simple warm response. Whether with the “Situation Room” Team, the small businesses, or men, women, and children we have been privileged to meet or serve, we’re reminded how rewarding it is to share something delicious with someone. While we would have loved to sneak onto a newscast and convince the world how our doughnuts might be the only thing that could cause a cease on crossfire, it wasn’t the right time. One day!