A Cinnzeo roll is a special kind of experience. Freshly baked, swirled with their special Dragon cinnamon and brown sugar blend, then topped with cream cheese icing; it’s hard not to smile when you get one. “It’s joyful,” says Cinnzeo Bakery Café CEO Brad Turner. “We know it’s a treat and we’re not ashamed of that.”
Since 1987, the Calgary-born bakery-café chain has been serving “swirls of joy”. And in recent years, they’ve been serving them to customers further and further afield. What started out as a single bakery-café is now a generator of “smiles that stick” in locations across Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the Middle East.
When you combine nearly thirty years of perfecting a joyful experience with exciting opportunities to expand, a rebrand makes sense. That’s what Brad and his team concluded in 2019, shortly after the company had been passed on from its original owners.
“The business had built a good solid name,” says Brad. “But we were looking to grow the business in Canada and internationally, and the logo and overall brand hadn’t changed in over 20 years. It was time to refresh.”
The re-branding process was robust, involving “creative specialists, extensive research, a competitive review, and consultation with customers and franchisees.” Identifying Cinnzeo’s core values was of central importance.
“It’s all about the ‘joy of the swirl’,” says Brad. “Our work is to put smiles on faces.”
With this insight in mind, the refreshed brand—which is, above all else, bright and energetic— began to take shape. Naturally, Cinnzeo’s packaging had to be aligned with the overall effort. When Great Little Box Company/Ideon Packaging (GLBC) stepped up to meet this need, Cinnzeo was dealing with a situation that we’ve seen far too often—unfortunately.
“Our former supplier was complacent, US-based; they really didn’t seem to have any focus or attention to spare. I know that their business is changing in terms of size and scale, but every customer still matters, right? I don’t understand it.”
When Cinnzeo found GLBC, they were looking for a Canadian supplier who was “responsive and engaged.” The fit was good and the collaboration started immediately with a new line of folding carton boxes.
As the rebrand rolls out, the need for “responsive and engaged” packaging suppliers becomes even more acute. That’s because refinement is everything.
“We know operationally what we need, and we know we’ll keep changing things,” explains Brad. “We need stackable—really stackable—boxes so that during busy times like the holidays, our product doesn’t get crushed. We need something that doesn’t show grease spots from the cream cheese. We’re trying to be environmentally proactive, so we’re talking about compostable. The list goes on.”
When it comes to the overall impact of the rebrand, the wins have been big. “It’s been well-accepted. The reaction is very positive. We’re more relevant to the demographics—including people aged 20-25 and families—that we needed to focus on for continued success.”
This positions Cinnzeo positively for the economic recovery all businesses are looking forward to as the COVID-19 pandemic relents. “We’re anxious for the recovery to begin. We know there will be growing pains again, even just as franchisees get used to handling the pace of increased sales. But we’re ready for it.”
In the near future, you can expect to find Cinnzeo Bakery Cafés in many more locations across Canada, including places like universities and hospitals. But wherever a Cinnzeo is found, the experience will be the same.
“We’re different,” says Brad. “We don’t have rolls baked off-location. It’s always going to be baked fresh, by trained staff, right where you get it.”
One thing is for sure: we’re honoured to be part of this “joyful experience”, wherever it takes place.