I walked into my office Monday morning and much to my surprise there was a box of Girl Scout cookies on my desk. ‘Tis the season I thought, in anticipation of being flooded with order forms from co-workers, family and friends. I began to wonder what makes them so popular and how have they stood the test of time?
Girl Scout cookies were first sold by the Mistletoe troop of Oklahoma in 1917! This bit of trivia shocked me until it dawned on me that this is a great example of relationship marketing. After all, who could resist these cute girls with pigtails and freckles peddling delicious cookies?
It takes a brave young soul to go up to perfect strangers outside a supermarket, smile a big toothless smile, and ask if they want to buy any cookies. Only to face rejection time and time again. My next thought was what makes these girls want to sell Girl Scout cookies? Not ever being a Girl Scout myself I was inspired to do a bit of research and discovered that Girl Scouts of the USA actually do an amazing job marketing their organization to women of all ages, not just young girls. Adult women can be part of the Girl Scouts and have the opportunity to support, coach, and mentor young girls so they develop critical life long skills.
But back to the tasty morsels… Take a look at the screen shot below from the website. Who wouldn’t want to be like those girls kickin’ it in their cool vest and chill t-shirt? But they also speak of lifetime skills like decision-making, money management, people skills, and self-confidence. Skills everyone needs to be a successful productive adult. Girls who sell the Girl Scout cookies also have the opportunity to go on trips to the capitol, learn to Kayak, or give back to the community by working in a community kitchen.
Next I wondered, what famous women were Girl Scouts? Is there evidence that this marketing strategy actually translates to real-life examples? A quick Google search of famous Girl Scouts lead me to an amazing list of individuals. Just to give you a flavor of the list… 11 President’s wives from Edith Wilson to our current first lady Michelle Obama, 14 Astronauts, a retired Army General, Barbara Walters, (and here’s the kicker) Debbie Fields, Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies!
So the next time your annoying co-worker or neighbor comes running over shaking the Girl Scout cookie order form remember that you might be supporting the founder of the next Apple or President of the United States.