We were all witness to it, we all heard about it, but very few people really believed it. Within the last year in Cork city, it seemed like every day reports were surfacing of yet another doughnut shop opening up.

‘Another one?’ we exclaimed, in disbelief. ‘How many is that now…37?’

Huckleberry Doughnuts, headed by Jason Woodard, was the first to jump on the doughnut concept, establishing itself right off the bat. Their marketing was clever, hitting digital hard, and as Woodard had followed the trend in Dublin, timed it well so that they established themselves as leaders in the sector and were well positioned when the market would become saturated in the months that followed.

Speaking about what took him into the doughnut business, Woodard commented:

“I decided to get into the doughnut business because I saw a trend happening in Dublin and I knew that with the right product and marketing, we could be a success.”

Asked about Huckleberry’s digital marketing approach  “I feel our marketing approach has given us a massive edge over our competition. We are creating content and putting it where people are looking and we do that better than a lot of businesses out there,” he said.

To date there are over 6 different doughnut shops in Cork City with countless other outlets such as Centra, Lidl and small coffee shops also throwing the circular snack into their offering as well. Now, six doughnut shops may not seem like a whole lot to someone living in the big shmoke, but to our small community in Cork, the surge was glaring.

It now seems however, that we have finally reached doughnut overload. Such is the case in Dublin, as The Irish Times reported recently in an interview with Lisa Quinlan, owner of Dublin’s longest standing doughnut shop ‘The Rolling Donut’, the market has become over saturated and the wagon hoppers are starting to fall off.

So, it then begs the question, what makes a trend worth jumping on?

Dyjaho’s Head of Content, Simon Murdoch says “Doughnut shops certainly lend themselves to being able to splash personality across the various elements of the brand… whether that’s fun and humourous video content, to eye catching in-store branding, to the very toppings on the donuts themselves! Everyone loves a sweet treat… everyone loves a bit of food porn… And everyone is drawn to bright personalities… So from a social perspective, there’s a lot you can do. However there seems to be an element of “Sure if he can do it so can I” creeping in… which probably isn’t the best approach. You have to work to make it work. Strategy, brand positioning and presence, planning and sticking to your strengths are obviously key to any business, especially when so much advertising is done online.”

Most importantly you have to ask, what is the motivation? If your heart isn’t in it and you’re just playing Dellboy trying to make a few quid, it’s unlikely this kind of business will succeed.

So when it comes to jumping on a trend there are many things to consider, but from a business point of view, you have to ask yourself; do know your market?

Who is your customer?

Are they willing to buy?

From a brand’s perspective; unique selling point is key for longevity so how is what you’re doing different from your competitor and how can you stand apart?

This is where digital marketing comes in. Digital will help you stand out from the crowd. From online listening, to planning a business strategy, to competitor analysis; being in the loop online, especially on social media, is key to knowing when the bandwagon is worth the hop, when it’s full, or even how to steer it.

When it comes to doughnuts though, as stories circulate about closures and the novelty wears off, it seems we’ll soon find out who’s full of dough and who has a hollow centre.