I never thought the day would come but, these days, I would much rather have a tart frozen yogurt sprinkled with blackberries and coconut shavings than a creamy chocolate ice cream sprinkled with chocolate chips. Years ago, it was fat over fat-free. Perhaps the boom of the “froyo” craze, fueled by Pinkberry, of the mid-2000s had something to do with it, which has positioned this treat as a cool, groovy, healthy swirl to consume. Not even remotely associated with the upheaval of the froyo is TCBY (The Country’s Best Yogurt), the forefather of consumer frozen yogurt that opened its first store in 1981 and now has over 900 franchise locations, approximately 400 of those outside the United States. I remember the TCBY in a mall in Mexico, it was full of hippie foods and it couldn’t shake the old school health attitude if its granola depended on it. In the last ten years in the US, I don’t recall, once, seeing a TCBY outpost. Surely, I have, but it has receded into the background against its contemporary, colorful rivals. In June, TCBY announced plans to change all this, introducing a new store design and identity created by Salt Lake City, UT-based Struck/Axiom.
“We feel like the tone of the experience, energy, and choice self-serve offers the consumer is not only a dramatic departure from our current experience, but a departure from the category as a whole,” says Timothy Casey, CEO of TCBY. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of tremendous strategy, research and creative execution by our internal team and agency, StruckAxiom, to bring this trifecta — concept, design, and brand identity — to a realization. More important, it’s symbolic of the new TCBY, a pioneer ready to infuse and lead the movement around a growing frozen yogurt category. Today is one of many steps in that direction.”
— Press Release
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TCBY requested a simple, yet empowering logo that would remain a recognizable, iconic depiction of the company’s trademark acronym. Along with Foster Research & Consulting, StruckAxiom conducted focus groups on TCBY’s behalf to gauge consumer sentiment on the refreshed logo. Consumers felt the new logo and identity were clean and simple, and spoke to freshness, health and relevancy. TCBY will incorporate variations of the updated logo on in-store and outdoor signage, packaging, employee uniforms and marketing collateral.
The old logo had a clumsy playfulness that didn’t come across too endearingly, not committing fully to being more daring and fun. The new logo, in contrast, commits to something: trendiness. The magenta color, the thin geometric letterform, the lowercase… it’s not a particularly good or bad logo, but it doesn’t offer anything new. I can appreciate the “y” in the shape of the cup and the well-balanced length of the ascenders and descenders but that’s where the yogurt stops serving. The name spelled out next to tcby is too tight and mashed together, the complete opposite message of light and airiness that one might prefer to associate with frozen yogurt.
With a distinct color palette and welcoming social lounge, the new store design boasts a clean, progressive personality with smart functionality for both consumers and employees. Mindful of the concept’s vision, TCBY has created a self-serve customer experience that is both accessible and attractive. Upon entering the store, customers are greeted by 10 to 16 soft-serve flavors boasting 98 percent fat free and sugar free frozen yogurt and sorbet options. After choosing their favorite flavors, guests approach an extensive toppings bar brimming with fresh fruit, granola, and a variety of dry and hot toppings to finalize their creation. Pricing is done by weight at $.39 per ounce.
The new store design does feel more engaging and welcoming. I’m also a fan of anything that allows me to interact less with bored teenagers waiting for costumers to pick a flavor. The self-serve stations, which are now the de facto model in most froyo chains, is indeed a boon. TCBY is getting a big visual boost with this concept, but all those franchises still need to adopt the new look and feel, and that may take a long time. TCBY is already a step behind the competition, it may be too many steps more before it catches up.
Plans are in development for coming back to Europe in Spring of 2018 with the current top contender host city of Barcelona.