Monday, March 28, 2011

Girl Scout Cookie Empire Evolves, Continues

Business Insider has a brilliant article titled 'How The Girl Scouts Built Their Cookie Empire'. There is a timeline slideshow, detailing the evolution of The Girl Scout Cookie Program. The story begins with an Oregon Girl Scout troop that organized a bake sale. Nearly a century later, Girl Scouts of the USA commands a $715 million cookie empire, selling 200 million boxes a year. The article details how Girl Scouts built their booming business thanks to decades of smart organizational choices, good products and an unbeatable brand image. This incredible growth story is a model for non-profit and for-profit companies.

The next step in The girl Scout Cookie Program's evolution, reported by an abundance of outlets over the past few days, is being played out in the digital arena. The Baltimore Sun reports that Girl Scouts nationwide are increasingly selling their famous cookies with a technological assistance. "We're shifting the way we do business in a big way, and this is one small indicator of that movement," says Jamie Joyce, vice president of interactive marketing for Girl Scouts of the USA — the first in the organization to hold such a title. "The general perception of Scouts is that they're an iconic brand that's been around forever, but not particularly a Web-savvy or connected one. We think this change will resonate really well with the public to let them know we are where they are." The Cookie Finder for iPhone is an extension of a Web tool the Scouts have found to be wildly popular. People searching for cookies go online to, type in their ZIP code and up pops a list, sorted by distance, showing how far to the nearest cookies. In January alone, that site topped 1 million visits — leading to countless sales for Scouts nationwide.

The story has been picked up by ABC News, Yahoo News (video below), redOrbit, Seattle Weekly and countless more. A quote from an article in The Washington Post resonates the most with me. “When it comes to technology, I think the best way to sum up Girl Scouts is: We are where the girls are,” said Michelle Tompkins, spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA. “We listen to what they say. And when they tell us that they are on Facebook, then we go on Facebook.”