A new cohesive brand vision and store design brings the two sweet-treat concepts together in one delicious destination
The co-brand experience, filled with imagination and wonder, brings these iconic concepts together in one delicious destination – a wonderland for those who crave fresh-baked cookies and homemade ice cream. The first store featuring the integrated branding is now open in Columbia, South Carolina. However, due to COVID-19, only curbside pick-up and delivery are currently being offered.
The new Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery experience was crafted with storytelling and a heightened sense of “food theater” in mind. The parent company, Global Franchise Group (GFG), partnered with nationally recognized brand consultancy and creative agency, Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) to conceptualize the vision.
“We have created a cohesive, complementary and unbelievably unique vision for our Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery co-brand locations,” said Jenn Johnston, chief brand officer and president of franchise operations at GFG. “While incredibly popular and distinctive on their own, we know these two legacy brands are irresistible coupled together. The experience is completely integrated from the moment you step in the door, to when you take your first bite. This is monumental and game-changing in our industry – we are taking co-branding to the next level.”
This is the second time GFG has worked with Sterling-Rice Group to modernize and elevate its brand portfolio. Together, they introduced a full rebranding for Round Table Pizza in 2019 centered around “Pizza Royalty.” The unified in-store experience encouraged guests to indulge their sweet senses and to “just imagine, the sweet spot - a place where you can have it all!”
“History is full of famous duos who are better together, but there aren’t many successful co-branded concepts in the restaurant space,” said Liz Seelye, managing director of brand innovation at SRG. “Thanks to insights gleaned with guests and franchisees, we rediscovered what makes each brand unique. Then we strengthened the bond between them to create a more effective operations platform, a more compelling offering, an even more powerful brand promise.”
Nostalgic favorites are served side-by-side innovations like Create Your Own Cookie Shakes, Ice Cream Double Doozies, and Cookie and Cheesecake Brownie Sundaes. The “Unlimited Mix-Ins” Marble Slab Creamery is known for has been reimagined to “Free Mix-Ins” and the customization Great American Cookies is known for now extends to all cakes and cookies. Store signage and new products encourage sweet Instagram moments for social media engagement.
Cakes are a focal point of the concept with a prominent “Cake Walk” that highlights innovation in Cookie Cake and Ice Cream Cake design. This integrated branding also includes new logos, packaging, and a modernized ethos to retain and attract Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery fans and employees for years to come.
“The new design crafts an integrated, contemporary experience so both brands maintain relevance together and separately,” said Jen Jones, managing partner of design at SRG. “Now guests can see how the magic happens. The new-to-world store experience highlights fresh-baked cookie and creative ice cream processes from the marble slab counter and mix-in display to the ‘imagination station’ where guests can observe the artistry of cake customization.”
The Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery co-brand locations have been an incredibly successful concept. There are currently 108 co-branded locations across the country, with an additional 38 franchisees set to add-on a concept to an existing store and 33 additional stores set to open as part of Area Development Agreements. The first reimagined store is operated by longtime franchisees Lane and Ryan Griffith and Glen Lax.
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