If I asked you what Girl Scouts sell, your almost-instantaneous reply would be “cookies.” And you would be right – in part. The Scouts have capitalized on the popularity of their product and the proliferation of brand extensions everywhere to move beyond cookies into a multitude of products featuring their famous Thin Mint and Samoa (coconut & caramel) flavors.

You can now purchase Thin-Mint-flavored chickpea snacks, Coffeemate flavored creamer, gum, yogurt cereal, tea and ice cream sandwiches. Samoa fans can find the flavor in ice cream, cupcakes, Coffeemate, and gum. Their peanut butter chocolate cookies also come as yogurt. Instead of selling cookies, they have morphed into licensing flavors.

The Girl Scouts have also expanded beyond partnerships to sell additional items directly. Troops can offer chocolate raisins, fruit slices, caramels and toffee in addition to their delectable cookie assortment. Their brand extension offers lessons to women about how to take an established core product and leverage the brand beyond the item itself.

Think about what strength in your organization can benefit from partnerships or direct growth. Capitalize on the reputation of the old to make it into something new, yet familiar.

Thanks, Wendy!

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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