29 November 2022 |

These are not your Grandma’s cookies

By Daniel Murray

It’s a chilly winter evening, you spent the last hour hanging christmas lights out front, and you were just called in for dessert

As soon as you walk inside, the smell hits you. Warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Your Grandma’s specialty, right?  You walk over to the table and there’s a pink box of the largest AND freshest chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever seen.

These are not your Grandma’s cookies. So who’s cookies are they? Today’s lesson is all about the rise of a cookie conglomerate. Yes, I just used that word.

Founded in 2017, Crumbl Cookies has grown to over 537 stores in only 5 years.

How did they do it? Some may say it’s just the way the cookie Crumbl’d ;), but marketers know there’s a reason for their success.

Crumbl is the perfect example of a modern franchise – created by 2 cousins who were fluent in tech and social media (and they sure leveraged the crap out of both).

When it comes to Crumbl, cookies are obviously not a differentiated product – Nestle has been dominating the industry for years. But, that didn’t stop Crumbl from making their cookie special.

The founders spent THOUSANDS of hours A/B testing recipes, and would hang out at gas stations to ask civilians to taste-test their cookies. A fantastic display of market research.

(I wish I was at a gas station when they were – LOL).

Product is vital. If you aren’t fulfilling a customer need, then what are you doing?

Many founders are juggling so many different things when launching their business that packaging is overlooked. Crumbl’s founders aren’t like other founders.

They turned their packaging into something that strengthens their brand with each order. Every take-out and delivery order of Crumbl goes into their iconic pink packaging.

Whether it’s a 4, 6, or 12-pack box, each is designed to fit the cookies side-by-side and create the perfect unboxing experience for their customers.

The effect? When you see the pink packaging, you think Crumbl.

And when you think of brands CRUSHING it on social, Crumbl is top of mind.

They have built a MASSIVE audience:

  • TikTok: 5.6M followers
  • Twitter: 531K followers
  • Instagram: 2.1M followers
  • YouTube: 774K subscribers

Talk about insane scale.

Their roughly 9M followers puts their total social following only 15% below McDonald’s, one of the biggest brands in the world.

Crumbl’s use of social media has enabled them to acquire customers and build awareness for MUCH less advertising dollars than their competitors.

How? They host a weekly “unboxing” show on YouTube that draws in 100,000+ viewers a week.

The weekly unboxing show highlights Crumbl’s rotating menu. What’s a rotating menu? The chocolate chip cookie and sugar cookie are staples to the menu, but Crumbl rotates 5 other flavors on a weekly basis.

So yes, this means you may not get your favorite cookie every single week.

But, this rotating menu induces a sense of scarcity that gets customers to purchase when their favorite flavors are indeed available. Not only that, it keeps fans and customers engaged and on the lookout for new flavors via social media.

Leaning into their success on social even more is their incentives program.

Crumbl created a fantastic consumer-facing technology that encourages consumers to follow Crumbl on social media in exchange for “Crumbs”.

And consumers can use those “Crumbs” to get free cookies.

Talk about an on brand program and a positive feedback loop for Crumbl.