National Doughnut Day – It’s Probably Not What You Think

Jamie MacDonald, Account Manager in our Edinburgh PR team, explains the history of National Doughnut Day and why it’s more meaningful than you think.

It’s National Doughnut Day! What better reason can there be to celebrate the most delicious of sugary, jammy or chocolatey treats?

Well, there is a better reason and it came as a surprise to me.

Rather than being a day thought up to push sales and generate cash for food companies, the National Doughnut Day has its origins in the First World War.

In 1917, women of the Salvation Army in the US travelled to the front line of the war in Europe to provide baked goods and a small taste of home for their troops. Providing support not far from where the fighting was taking place, the effort raised morale and must have reminded soldiers, in one of the most bloody and horrific conflicts ever, that the world could still be a pleasant place.

To commemorate the role those women played in supporting the war effort, the first National Doughnut Day took place in 1938 and has been marked every year since. Krispy Kreme and other companies in the US have since got onboard giving away doughnuts and fundraising on the day.

There are hundreds of national days that range from the frivolous to the serious.

For businesses, high-profile and not so high-profile days present opportunities to make contact with a range of audiences.

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), for example, has been a great tool for oil & gas firms looking to challenge stereotypes of the industry. It also allows them to lift the profile of their female workforce and the range of opportunities to those considering a career in the sector.

INWED’s success has come from altering perceptions, its positive message successfully highlights the variety of roles available in the sector, the skills of those involved and shows it to be a progressive and inclusive industry for all.

Others, such as World Mental Health Awareness Day (and Week) can start conversations with staff. As well as improving the health of the workforce, such an approach can better connect a company with its people.

Like INWED, those businesses choosing to connect with their workforce over health also show themselves to be progressive. Taking the front foot and providing staff with the opportunity to discuss issues like mental health shows a company to be considerate and open to discussing an individual’s needs.

To participate in such a day it needs to be relevant to your organisation.  National Doughnut Day is the perfect fit for Krispy Kreme as it sits perfectly with the product it sells. If an organisation well-known for its sugary goods was going to go big on a healthy eating inspired day instead this would leave them wide open to criticism for double standards.

It needs to be genuine and sustained too. If a firm wants to discuss health aspects with its staff, it has to be prepared to continue beyond just 24 hours. Effective communications takes time and trust and understanding needs to grow.

Also, be aware that Valentine’s Day and other well-known days have companies queuing up to have their names associated with them. This can mean your message could be lost in the noise but if it is relevant to you, like oil & gas companies to INWED, it is more likely to do well.

There is a huge variety of effective ways to reach whatever audience you might want to communicate with and national days are just one way to do it. They certainly represent a worthwhile addition to a marketing plan and key dates can be included in a content planner months in advance.

If you are interested in exploring ways to get your message across to prospective customers, business partners or individual people drop us a line and we’ll help deliver a communications campaign tailored to your business voice.

That said, you might want to choose something other than National Talk Like a Pirate Day to make a start!

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