Baking a Brand: Check Out Crumbl Cookies’ Recipe for Success

Baking a Brand: Check Out Crumbl Cookies’ Recipe for Success

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: December 06, 2023

We have something different on the plate today!

Let's delve into the heartwarming and inspiring journey of Crumbl Cookies, now famous for its weekly rotating menu and signature pink box.

As Crumbl continues to expand across the United States, the company's PR strategist Melissa Arnoldsen shares how customer feedback and innovative marketing strategies have been key ingredients in their recipe for success.

Join us to learn how they turned a simple bakery idea into a sensational brand.


Who Is Melissa Arnoldsen?

Melissa is a Public Relations strategist at Crumbl Cookies, where she has passionately served for over a year. Graduating with a degree in PR from Brigham Young University, Melissa's role revolves around managing national written media. She thrives on the art of storytelling and is dedicated to building meaningful relationships. Crumbl's mission to unite friends and family resonates deeply with Melissa, making it the perfect fit for her professional journey.

DesignRush: What initially sparked your passion in this field, and how did it evolve into the unique concept of Crumbl Cookies?

Melissa: Crumbl co-founders Jason McGowan (CEO) and Sawyer Hemsley (COO) were always interested in business. While Sawyer was a senior in college he pitched the bakery idea to Jason who was quickly interested in giving the idea a try.

With no prior baking experience, they learned to test recipes and were determined to create the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. After opening their doors they expanded to more flavors, eventually implementing the rotating weekly menu and Jason’s background in tech to create and release an app.

Crumbl has grown from a single store in Utah to a nationwide sensation. Could you share the pivotal moments in this journey and how they've shaped Crumbl's brand identity?

Crumbl grew from a small bakery in Logan, Utah in 2017 to have over 950 locations in just six years.

A few pivotal moments from the history of the creation of Crumbl come from the ideas the two co-founders, known as the endearing crazing cousins, had while initially dreaming up the brand and in the first formative years of opening. Their mission from the beginning was to create the world’s best chocolate chip cookie — this led the two creators to experiment in the kitchen later on with more flavors, eventually implementing the rotating menu.

Another iconic piece of the brand is the pink box — pink, having been chosen from the bright color of the pink Cadillac owned by Sawyer Hemsley's grandpa while he was growing up, and the rectangular box from a study he had completed in his marketing class at Utah State University. The brand quickly transformed into a bright pink landmark as it grew from one location to a franchise where customers learned they could enjoy hundreds of freshly baked cookie flavors with their friends and family.

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Crumbl's rotating menu seems to be heavily influenced by customer feedback. How do you incorporate this feedback to continuously evolve your menu offerings?

In pursuing a response to our customer feedback, we created a feature on our app called the Crumbl Cookie Journal, or Cookie Journal. On this feature, what we like to call the “Reddit'' of Crumbl, customers can rate any Crumbl cookie.

Their feedback ranks our cookies and allows them to tell us what they think about familiar favorites and unique new flavors. Using the feedback provided through this feature on the app, as well as through other methods such as social media messaging, comments or other platforms, Crumbl creates new menu offerings.

Crumbl's success on TikTok and Instagram is notable. What strategies have you found most effective, and how can other businesses leverage these platforms to enhance brand visibility?

Crumbl created a highly visual and engaging brand indeed.

A lot of content surrounding the cookies involves cookie fans tasting and rating the weekly flavors that we offer from week to week. Because Crumbl has over 250 rotating flavors throughout the year, there is plenty to talk about online and customers love to share with us their favorites and not-so-favorites.

TikTok is especially where Crumbl grew the most rapidly, though we have high social media followings on each account that continue to grow.

The logo of Crumbl Cookies on a white background

With the growing emphasis on digital experiences, how can others prioritize customer experience to stand out in today's market?

At Crumbl, we want to think of ourselves as leaders in the industry, not followers.

With this mindset, we approach our work with a broad view of what is possible, not waiting to see what other companies do and follow suit.

We are the leaders. We set the course.

What emerging trends have you observed in terms of digital marketing, and how can businesses come on top of these trends?

Many people want to be seen for their traits — personalizing an experience for customers is key to success in today’s world of marketing.

The way Crumbl approaches this is by giving customers a clean and seamless experience online and in-store, and by greeting every customer who walks through the door with "Welcome to Crumbl!"

We try to see every individual customer, their needs and wishes, and grant them as best we can.

We thank Crumbl for this conversation. If you enjoyed it too, be sure to stay tuned for more of our interviews with industry experts!

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