Coming off a year in which it reinvented its brand image, launched a self-serve model, and found itself positioned against several new competitors, TCBY announced that it is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011—with a little help from its customers.
The company rolled out classic frozen yogurt flavor Red Velvet Cake for a limited time to commemorate the anniversary. But CEO Tim Casey says his favorite celebrative promotion is the contest the company is holding on YouTube that asks fans to submit 30-second videos of themselves pledging their love for TCBY in song, poem, or any other type of expression.
“The reason I like this so much and think it’s so relevant to the 30th anniversary is we’re going to ask folks to go on YouTube and engage in a contest where they can tell the world … what TCBY means to them,” Casey says. “What I like about that is it’s about, once again, the customer expressing themselves. It’s about them telling us what we mean to them.”
Casey says the YouTube promotion, which can be accessed on TCBY’s website and runs through February 28, is a grassroots way for TCBY to stir up excitement among brand fans. Using social media like this, he says, can only be successful if it puts power in the hands of the user.
“If companies try to use it as a real advertising and marketing tool, the social media user really doesn’t like that and doesn’t respond to it well,” Casey says. “The YouTube contest is really about celebrating their self expression about the brand. I think the way the brand wins through social media is when people do engage with your brand, they share it with others.”
Hitting the 30-year milestone, Casey says, is an important milestone for any retail business in today’s economic climate, but doing so in a segment that has boomed in popularity in just the last two years is even more significant.
“It’s great to be part of what’s considered a young industry again,” he says. “But there’s a pride factor that comes along with being the ones to be able to say we launched this concept of a good-for-you product for the consumer that not only tastes great, but has high nutritional value as well.”
Though year No. 30 won’t hold as many brand changes as year No. 29, Casey says, he hints that big changes are yet to come for TCBY to set it up for another 30 years of success.
“It’s all about staying in tune with the consumer, evolving the brand, reinventing the brand to be relevant to that consumer base and what their needs are, [and] trying to stay one step ahead to anticipate what that next need is right before they have that need,” Casey says.
To see more about the transformation TCBY underwent in 2010, click here .
By Sam Oches