Sugar High won Cupcake Wars in the fall of 2012 and I remembered the winning show, featuring an odd creation: their pizza cupcake.
A stroke of marketing genius on so many levels.
First, the bakery is situated in a prime spot in a little community of shops right in the heart of this tourist town. People staying at the big hotels or just stopping in en route to some place else can’t help but see it when they stroll through the shops. And smell the sweetness from the street.
So location, check.
It’s a cute shop with bold colors and flavors. Their winningest flavors are daring: the pizza cupcake of course (marina cake with parmesan buttercream frosting and candied pepperoni, which I have to say, was the best flavor we bought, surprising beyond all expectations), toxic lemon-lime, maple-bacon and more.
We couldn’t help but buy the pizza cupcake, despite the fact that it sounded, frankly, repulsive. And then we were struck by how tasty it was, how it defied limiting expectation.
When it comes to food, we taste with our eyes before we ever take a bite. You might extend that metaphor and say the same about almost any business – we survey, take it in, make evaluations and assumptions based on what we first see on the surface, and then decide whether to patronize the business.
We don’t dip into the depths before deciding whether it’s a business we want to support though we should. The backstory of how the business came to be and what integrity propels it forward should factor into our spending decisions, but human nature can be a fickle thing. Our pre-evaluations have mostly to do with surface perceptions.
In the new year, I’d love to change all that, but human nature is a tough sea to swim against.
The second part to this success story is the way in which the owners of Sugar High decided to be daring and do things differently than other bakeries. Pizza cupcake. Who cares what people think. Try it. You just might like it.
And that’s the thing about success. You have to go where no one else has gone. You have to TRY. You have to be different, new, innovative, unique.
Don’t you remember that from high school? The different and unique ones were labeled weird and fringe – but look where they are today. Most have succeeded beyond the cheerleaders and football stars. I’m just saying.
Life is boring when it’s familiar vanilla all the time. It’s so much more what it’s meant to be – bright and full of light, energetic and amazing, inspiring and full of a textured richness that you can almost taste – when you put away the box and the parameters of routine and dance on a city sidewalk, no matter who’s watching.
Do you think as this new year begins, we could strive for that, in our work and in our lives? Could we discard the boring vanilla and become toxic lemon-lime?
Maybe you want to rename your flavor just a bit. Go ahead and do it. Something totally unexpected and crazy. Unique. Full of flavor. Memorable. Like no one else.