I stumbled upon a brief but thought-provoking interview between Ron Graves, CEO of Pinkberry, and the hosts of CNBC’s Squawk Box. Ron provides several
excuses reasons why he decided to slow down the company’s rapid growth in 2007, and what his team did in the meantime to lay the groundwork for Pinkberry’s resurrection.
Pardon me for being blunt, but I think this was a major strategic error on Ron’s part. Pinkberry used to be synonymous with better-for-you, tart frozen yogurt, with such a massive headstart over every other brand that followed. But because of complacency and lack of innovation, they’ve been overtaken by more aggressive and creative frozen yogurt purveyors.
It’s interesting that one of Pinkberry’s investors likened Pinkberry to Lululemon. I find this comparison
absurd misplaced. Lululemon is a true innovator, with technical fabrics and designs that competitors can’t match, and a brand name that is synomymous with yoga wear. On the other hand, Pinkberry is now just another player in a crowded category, with so many comparable brands competing for the same customer. Sadly, Pinkberry’s reign as the premier frozen yogurt innovator is now but a distant memory.
Fortunately, there’s still a huge amount of brand equity and potential left in Pinkberry. With the right strategy (more innovation, please!) and proper execution, it’s not impossible for Pinkberry to re-take the top spot in the frozen yogurt hierarchy. But this requires an honest assessment of its missteps — no more excuses. For how can you come up with an effective strategy to turn things around, if you can’t even acknowledge that mistakes were made in the past?