As part of our “What’s Trending” series – which combines fun perks and giveaways with thought leadership beyond our industry – we invited Michael Bagley, Co-Creator of the Bruffin, to stop by our New York HQ to give us a taste of this brioche-style “meal-in-a-muffin” and share what went into creating it.
Read on to learn how a smart idea became a rising star on the foodie scene, and how Michael took his product from good thinking to “Good Morning America.”
What insight led you to create The Bruffin?
Like many people, I am always on the run. I didn’t want a doughnut, a sandwich or a slice of pizza – I wanted a one-stop shop that was easy to handle, obviously delicious, full of natural ingredients and, that offered a certain degree of versatility. My partner (Medy Youcef) developed a recipe that facilitated all of these things, and thus The Bruffin was born.
Why do you think food hybrids are resonating so well with consumers?
There is always a level of excitement when something new is created. Hybrid foods resonate because they appeal to both your culinary and intellectual curiosity. People often are very interested in the story behind the food: its origin, process, creator, etc., thus adding to the allure.
Shed some light on the marketing strategy for The Bruffin.
Our strategy is intrinsically linked to the overwhelmingly positive reception The Bruffin receives at various artisanal markets, as well as from corporate venues that increasingly seek to showcase our collection. As people “buy with the eye,” it was important for The Bruffin to have strong visual presence. The strategy to incorporate an International theme gave us an infinite list of potential recipes, while at the same time provided a strong visual, and a story to tell our customers.
Additionally, the name was also a crucial element in bringing The Bruffin to market. It needed to be easy to say, easy to remember and partially define what it is. As it began as a breakfast muffin made from brioche-like dough, “Bruffin” emerged as the perfect name.
Where does social media fit into your plan?
We use social media to drive word of mouth (WOM) in many ways. For one, we actively encourage our fans to tag us as they share their Bruffin experience with their friends via social platforms. This allows us to capitalize on the popular food photography trend that you see in places like Instagram. We also chronicle our events, activations and visits on our Facebook page with a photo series called “Bruffin Bites.”
What advice would you give to others innovating in their respective industries?
Creative people don’t generally regard their innate talents with the same level of respect as those which they are taught. As a result, people can be insecure about stepping outside their comfort zone. If you’re trying to innovate, one thing that I would suggest is testing your idea on a varied audience.
Beyond consulting friends and family (who are inherently biased), take advantage of the many resources available, such as SCORE, an organization of retired executives who provide free guidance from their respective fields. Being flexible and considering the varying perspectives of others can lead to a collaborative result with greater success than an idea that emanates from a single point of view.
What’s next for The Bruffin?
With the opening of a Bruffin Bar on Delancey Street in early June, an opening in the new Gansevoort Market in July and the overwhelming potential for the growth of The Bruffin as a food category, you can be sure there is more to come.
Cover photo via The Bruffin