Baskin-Robbins offering much more than just ice cream

Jim Johnstone

Jim Johnstone

Baskin-Robbins, client of Coconut Creatives, is so much more than just the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty stores. Their mission is to build neighbourhood stores that not only sell ice cream but also create a fun and tasty environment for their customers.

Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by Burton “Burt” Baskin and Irvine “Irv” Robbins. Today, over 60 years later, Baskin-Robbins sells in excess of 300 million scoops of ice cream each week across 6,700 stores in 50 countries. Since their foundation they have introduced over 1,000 unique, fun and much-loved ice cream recipes, frozen drinks and ice-cream cakes.

We have recently spoken to Jim Johnstone, the UK General Manager at Baskin-Robbins, about what makes Baskin-Robbins such a success.

“The founders, Burt Robbins and Irv Baskin, realised that their strengths were in developing a great brand through focusing on product innovation, marketing strategy, operational excellence and a robust business model. They decided to franchise the stores to enable rapid growth of the brand.”

“The products we continue to develop today are unique and versatile. Ice cream cakes made in-store for any occasion, milkshakes blended in front of you from any of our 31 ice cream flavours on sale at any one time. We bring in a new flavour every month, true innovation! Finally, we have a great team here in the UK who are dedicated to helping franchisees grow their sales and profitability,” continues Jim.

Baskin-Robbins is operating in a market worth $1.8 billion. So we asked Jim what sets Baskin-Robbins apart from other ice cream brands and quick service restaurants.

“It’s a huge market with lots of competition. Other large brands have decided to focus on the take-home ice cream market while we are focusing on the whole experience in-store. As Burt Robbins said, We don’t sell ice cream, we sell fun,” explains Jim.

Baskin-Robbins already has 100 stores in the UK and is now offering opportunities to investors with a minimum of £300k liquid capital to develop a multi-store portfolio. A typical area containing 5 stores has the potential to turnover £1 million in the first full year of trading with EBITDA of 10-15%.†

With a Baskin-Robbins multi-store franchise you will receive full support and training as well as excellent return on investment!

†  full details are available during the discovery meeting


If you would like to find out how Coconut Creatives can help your franchise generate great PR please click here

Are you buying a business or a brand? – Sally Anne Butters writes for Making Money Magazine, January 2012

A brand is so much more than just a name and logo, for many people it’s a personality, a feeling that they get whenever they come across, purchase or interact with that company, product or service. That is why a strong brand is essential for anyone buying a franchise; any new business is a risk but the comfort of knowing what you are really getting into will set aside some of those start-up nerves.

Ask your Franchisor about how they manage their brand; all franchise opportunities should have brand guidelines to help with promotional literature, point of sale displays and so on but it is important that there is at least one person at head office assigned as a Brand Guardian.

In the best businesses, you can go to any branch of the company and get the same positive experience and this is where the brand buy-in is so strong that there isn’t just one Brand Guardian but every single member of staff takes on this role. This is so comforting to a prospective franchisee that it can prompt a decision to purchase and David Baker who purchased Driver Hire Kingston couldn’t agree more:

“Driver Hire seemed to be a rock steady brand and a well-established big business and that really gave me confidence. I also liked the idea of buying a business that was already up and running and part of network of around 100 offices. Everyone in the head office team was really enthusiastic and from this point on, Driver Hire were the only franchise in the running.”

Franchising gives companies the option to build their brand on a global level. Franchises such as The Athena Network, Cafe2U and FASTSIGNS are all global leaders in their marketplace. The Athena Network launched in Singapore this year after a strong few years in the UK whilst Cafe2U’s successful 10 years in Australia and 5 years in the UK prompted a launch in the USA this Summer as Australia’s Cafe2U MD, Derek Black explains:

“Consumers have been very welcoming of the mobile Cafe2U concept with one of our new American customers quoting: It’s even better than Starbucks!”

There is no doubt that Starbucks is a hugely successful and recognisable brand across the globe so how does a mobile coffee franchise like Cafe2U compete? They set themselves apart and make themselves memorable with brand differentiators – new locations, barista qualities, and an airhorn on their van playing the tune from the Godfather!

So what should you be looking for in a franchise when it comes to buying a brand that is well-established and support you to success or a younger franchise that has the potential to develop into a strong brand?

No.1 on your list is that you must be able to 100% agree with and emanate the company’s brand and ethos and the best way that you can get a feel for this is to spend some time with other franchisees and the head office team; a great way to do this is on a discovery day if the franchisor offers these.

Brands are also built on trust and just as a business’s customers need to trust them, so must someone buying a franchise. Trust fosters loyalty and a franchisor should always be open, communicative and ready to provide the information you require; being transparent starts off a strong relationship and will bring the right franchisees into the business which means you get off to the best start with your franchise and your franchisor.

In general, consumers value brands more than they are influenced by price because of the trust they have in the quality or standard of service so you should consider what is offered by the franchise opportunities that you are looking at in terms of their products and/or services. You can easily find out what their consumers think by searching online for Facebook pages, conversations on blogs or on trade websites.

Consumers are risk-averse and, of course, franchise searchers are too! Consumers will look for recommendations from friends, work colleagues or even strangers online before engaging with a new brand and you should do the same when researching a franchise purchase. There are also experts such as MatchPoint who can help match you to a franchise brand that most suits your skills and attributes if you want a free helping hand.

Finally, it is really important that you choose a brand that is ready to innovate as the marketplace changes and new technology comes along. Not all franchises will suit internet sales but all will benefit from an online presence for communicating with potential customers. Some will naturally have new product lines constantly in development like Mac Tools and others will have occasional updates as new design software makes work processes easier like the printing process at a FASTSIGNS franchise. What is imperative is that a franchisor can demonstrate to you that they have the flexibility to adapt and the skills to innovate to keep the business fresh, the turnover growing and the brand strong.


Calling ALL Franchisors: Attend a Franchise Recruitment Workshop so valuable you’ll be taking notes from start to end!

For the FIRST TIME Franchisors are being given the opportunity to participate in small group workshops, run by Sarah Cook Chartered Marketer and Founder of Coconut Creatives, the franchise industry’s leading franchise marketing consultancy.

See the sample agenda here
For more information on the workshops click here

The first of these workshops is being held on Wednesday 9th February, at a prestige venue in Dorset. There will be one every month, with the next two scheduled for Wednesday 2nd March and Wednesday 13th April.

The workshops include a fantastic line-up of speakers covering vital areas of franchise growth, development and recruitment. This is a unique opportunity to gain insight in a regular workshop environment and take away some really valuable intellectual property (usually reserved for one to one franchise projects!) to utilise within your own business.

These workshops will be led by Sarah, with presentations, guidance and advice from trusted experts in various fields related to franchise marketing, including:

• Emma Carter, owner and MD of Beyond Creative Thinking – a creative design agency that Sarah often works with on projects where clients need a style tweak or revamp.
• Adam Etheridge, owner of Aspect film & video – specialist in the filming and production of cutting-edge marketing videos. Sarah and Adam developed and successfully trialled a series of 3 minute video clips promoting franchise packages with the type of content that really grabs prospect attention. Adam and Sarah will be demonstrating these at the workshop and how you can recreate it within your business.
• An exhibition specialist to really give you the edge at exhibitions
• An intellectual property expert. If you’re thinking ‘a what?’ then you are not alone! Sarah will be teaching you how to utilise the latest thinking on IP to maximise the value of your franchise package and win more business
• Mystery shopping advice to tweak and refine your recruitment sales process
• Every Coconut Marketing Workshop will be so valuable, you’ll be taking notes from start to end!

To find out more, see a sample agenda, and email to book a place and request a booking form.

Click here to read more detailed information about the workshops.

Coconut Creatives: the first marketing company with accreditation from the BFA

Coconut Creatives has now achieved the ultimate confirmation of its success by becoming the very first marketing company to attain accreditation from the British Franchise Association.  Coconut Creatives, founded by marketing specialist Sarah Cook, responds to the needs of owner managed, SME and franchised businesses that need outsourced marketing expertise. Having already taken many businesses forward over the last five years, this honour will be certain to take the Coconut business forward for 2010!

The British Franchise Association acts as the governing body of the franchise industry and has recognised Coconut Creatives as THE specialists in the field who add value to businesses through expert marketing for franchise recruitment, franchisee marketing and progression of the core business and its long term strategic direction covering the areas of advertising, PR and promotional activities.

Brian Smart, Director General of the BFA, says: “Marketing is both a structured discipline and a creative art.  Building the one into the other is a continuing process that Coconut Creatives do, and do well.  Franchising is a similarly a structured discipline and a creative art which you need to understand to get right.  Coconut Creatives do understand franchising and we are delighted to welcome them to the BFA.”

Coconut Creatives’ service combines the benefits of employing an in-house Marketing Manager with those of a Marketing Consultant, without the disadvantages of either; this means franchisors benefit from a complete service from marketing planning right through to implementation   ensuring the delivery of the key activities and tracking return on investment.
“We are thrilled to be welcomed as a member of the British Franchise Association. Having worked with many franchisors over the last few years, it seemed like a natural step for us to take,” says Sarah Cook, founder of Coconut Creatives.
For more information about Coconut Creatives or to arrange a free consultation, please contact Sarah or Chris Cook on 01963 360896 or email

FitKid Launch LazyTown Classes Live on BBC Breakfast

***breaking franchise news***
Magnus Scheving appeared live on BBC Breakfast to launch a new partnership between FitKid and LazyTown on Wednesday 7th January.

LazyTown and FitKid have joined forces to launch an exciting new franchise business opportunity enabling franchisees to deliver official LazyTown classes and Parties within FitKid’s proven franchise business network.

With so much concern and media interest over child health and obesity, LazyTown and FitKid’s partnership will cement two companies with drive and passion to offer healthy lifestyle choices to Children. We offer the perfect solution to providing healthy fun activity classes which are enjoyable for all.

Learning the joys of an active life as a child is a vital skill that enables children to become healthy, confident adults. LazyTown classes ensure the children enjoy themselves so much that they keep coming back for more.

Nicky Kay, Director FitKid says “It is fantastic to be working with LazyTown, Children love Sportacus and Stephanie and now they can come along and have fun at the LazyTown classes. This new opportunity will assist in encouraging more Children to be active and meet our aims of inspiring them to lead a healthy lifestyle.”

Magnus Scheving, the creator/director and star of LazyTown, will be attending interviews in January to support the launch of LazyTown FitKid (UK) – fun fitness classes for kids. Sessions will incorporate the LazyTown music and dances along with fun play equipment such as parachutes, space hoppers, balls, etc. encouraging kids to move and get active. Parents will also be able to book LazyTown themed birthday parties for their child.

Magnus says, “We’re very excited about working with FitKid (UK).They’re a terrific company who really understand the LazyTown philosophy of making fitness fun for kids.”

The current FitKid franchise package will be relaunched to include LazyTown, enabling the fantastic opportunity for our franchisees to also deliver branded LazyTown classes and parties to help encourage children to lead an active lifestyle. If you are interested in finding out further details about this franchise opportunity or would like your child to attend the new LazyTown classes, please email for further details.

FitKid are looking for people to join us in taking this opportunity to the next level and delivering LazyTown Classes and Parties to Children in their local community offering a substantial business opportunity.

E-mail Nicky now at for further information on how you can become involved in this exciting new business opportunity. Visit for further information.

Check out – to view Magnus’ interview.