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What Girl Scout Cookies Can Teach Us About Brand Equity

Girl Scout Cookies Brand Equity

Brand equity matters a great deal. To summarize, it’s how the public thinks and feels about your brand. Brand equity lives at the intersection of self-portrayal, current customer’s sentiment, and non-customer’s assumptions.

Some of the most equitable brands include Google, Apple, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks. But I think we can learn the most about brand equity from the Girl Scouts.

Let’s break this down.

This Isn’t A Personal Attack, But…

Girl Scout Cookies are just cookies. In fact, they are overpriced, scant, and filled with artificial ingredients.

They’re on the same level as Oreos (which I also think have great brand equity), but you get less and they cost more. From a pure cookie standpoint, Girl Scout Cookies are nothing special. And before you say, “but Thin Mints!” — there are many brands that make mint chocolate cookies year round, but you don’t buy them.

Why is that?

Why Girl Scout Cookies Kick Butt at Branding

Cookies

Here are the top things we can learn about Girl Scout Cookie’s and their impressive brand.

They Support a Cause

The fact that a portion of your cookie purchase goes to troops is truly heartwarming. These troops have their own brand story of course: building confidence and skills in young girls. Who doesn’t want to support that?

This initiative singlehandedly skyrockets their value and allows the Girl Scouts to charge $5 per box.

What We Can Learn

Supporting causes and making charitable donations is a powerful branding initiative. Selecting a cause that aligns with your company’s core values is essential, but as long as your partnership is in good faith, people will take notice and get on board.

Scarcity

As you know, Girl Scout Cookies are only available for about a month out of the year. This creates buzz before the kickoff and a frenzy of buying throughout the sales month. Consumers flock to grocery stores, marijuana shops, and churches to get their fix. Parents post to their Facebook and get swarmed with inquiries and dibs.

What We Can Learn

This business model can’t really work for most of us, because we need year-round cash flow. But we do think having seasonal specials and limited-time offers can be an excellent product strategy. Whether that’s making a limited-edition product, creating an annual conference, or interviewing your CEO while they wear a Santa hat, there’s plenty of opportunity for all of us.

They Listen to Consumers

Girl Scouts know what their customers want. Thin Mints and Samoas first. Maybe some Peanut Butter Paddies and Shortbreads. And we might be willing to try their gluten-free variety this year, because hey, why not.

They know that changing their recipes or core varieties would be detrimental to their brand because Thin Mints are what many people associate with Girl Scouts and Girl Scout Cookies.

What We Can Learn

Don’t get fancy for the sake of fancy. If your customers are happy with a product or service, don’t change it. If you’re going to innovate, do it in a non-core business vertical or suffer unhappy customers and a possible brand blowback.

They Dominate Influencer Marketing

You’ve never seen an ad for Girl Scout Cookies. That’s because they rely on powerful influencers and brand loyalists to spread the word when Girl Scout Cookies are in season.

Moms. Dads. Neighbors.

All these influencers need to do is combine the previous three strategies into one, concise message. Something like,

“My daughter is selling cookies to support her Girl Scout troop! These cookies will only be around until March 30th, so order your Thin Mints soon!”

Girl Scouts give these influencers the tools and motivation and they run with it, growing brand equity and revenue at the same time.

What We Can Learn

In a world where marketers are constantly questioning whether influencer marketing “works,” it’s safe to say that it does. What’s important is having a strong brand in the first place— and then finding the right influencer with the right network.

Now that we learned that Girl Scout Cookies dominate branding, I’m off to find a selling station, as should you.

BTWs, Samoas are much better than Thin Mints.

Calendar February 28, 2019 | User Zenman