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382: Capturing Cultural Moments and Power Partnerships with Dave Skena, Global Chief Brand Officer at Krispy Kreme

382: Capturing Cultural Moments and Power Partnerships with Dave Skena, Global Chief Brand Officer at Krispy Kreme

Dave Skena remembers having his first Krispy Kreme doughnut at age 13, and even back then, he knew this company wasn’t like the others. In college, he thought he was going to be an economist, but through his first job at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), he realized marketing was where he really wanted to be. After going back to school, he began his new career at Kraft Foods, then went to PepsiCo for over eight years, where he led brands such as Lay’s, Ruffles, SunChips, Tostitos, and Lay’s Dips. He left CPG when he became Chief Marketing Officer at Ruby Tuesdays, where he helped them transition from public to private. Then moved on to his current role as Global Chief Brand Officer at Krispy Kreme. As a 20-year “performance-driven” innovator and marketer, Dave has flipped the script regarding traditional marketing in the category for an underdog brand by putting a premium on insights and creative-driven earned media strategies.

In this episode, Alan and Dave discuss the uniqueness of the Krispy Kreme brand being both accessible and premium with the omnichannel hybrid model, where their brand promise of freshness is a top priority. Dave is a performance marketer, meaning his goal is to get the most out of every marketing dollar spent. Rather than focusing on the top of the funnel, he is constantly monitoring the performance of each move his team makes through A/B testing. Earned media, collaborations, and participation in culture are the top ways Krispy Kreme increases traffic and awareness. Power partnerships with big brands such as Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Herseys, and Good Humor are a win-win for all involved and compound the joy for consumers. Dave says “happiness is not a fixed pie”, meaning there is plenty to go around. When it comes to capturing cultural moments, the Pandemic gave Krispy Kreme the perfect backdrop to counter with their extremely popular Acts of Joy, such as free donuts for all healthcare workers, graduates, and people who were vaccinated. By capitalizing on unity, Dave and his team are making news, reinforcing a culture of generosity, and driving sales at the same time.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Dave’s career prepared him perfectly for Krispy Kreme’s omnichannel hybrid model
  • The keys to authentically capturing cultural moments
  • What performance marketing is and how Dave maximizes his marketing budget

Key Highlights: 

  • [02:14] Dave’s first Krispy Kreme Doughnut
  • [05:30] From Economics to Doughnuts
  • [09:35] What’s unique about Krispy Kreme?
  • [13:10] The key to capturing cultural moments
  • [19:40] Partnerships and collaborations to increase joy (and sales)
  • [24:00] Delivered Fresh Daily: getting into retail
  • [25:45] Maximizing marketing and investments
  • [30:45] Using credibility to multiply happiness
  • [33:00] Being thrown into the deep end and learning you can swim
  • [36:20] Marketing is the best thing you can do with a dollar.
  • [37:50] Capitalize on unity
  • [39:45] It’s all about AI, but not in the way you think 

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