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How Kahala Brands is Identifying Non-Loyalty Members

The parent company of Cold Stone Creamery and other brands is leveraging data to understand their non-member visits and purchase behavior.
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HT caught up with Courtney Maxedon, VP of Interactive Marketing of Kahala Brands, about how the company is evolving its loyalty programs, leveraging data insights to improve customer engagement across its numerous brand that include Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery, Planet Smoothie, Pinkberry, Baja Fresh and more.


HT: How have Kahala Brands' loyalty programs evolved?   

Courtney Maxedon, VP of Interactive Marketing of Kahala Brands:  Kahala Brands owns and franchises many different restaurant concepts so program launch dates and structure vary from brand to brand. As a whole, loyalty is a huge initiative for us. We officially launched Cold Stone’s loyalty program just a couple short years ago, and it has continued to evolve based on our customer behavior, industry trends, state of economics, etc. Customers can sign up for our loyalty programs in-store and online. If a customer is a part of our loyalty program, they’ve given us some of their data and likely consented to some or all communications from us. Currently, we are able connect with our loyalty members via email, SMS and/or in-app messaging (depending on subscription status). We are also able to use the first-party data that we have collected through the program for advertising and targeting.

Our loyalty members are only a piece of the pie when it comes to overall brand customers. What’s really beneficial to us about working with DataDelivers is our ability to identify those non-members and understand their visit and purchase behavior on a much more holistic and comprehensive level than before. Data that we had limited visibility into now is actionable.

HT: What steps are required to gather the data to be able to use a solution like DataDelivers? 

Maxedon: First, we needed to identify all of our data sources that we wanted to send to DataDelivers. For us, that was email, loyalty, POS and online ordering. Then, we worked internally with our teams to identify what data we needed to send and how we were able to send it (daily file, API, etc.). We worked closely with DataDelivers to ensure that all data systems were set up on our side and their side for the most reliable reporting.

HT: How has this changed the insights Kahala Brands is gathering?

Maxedon: ...As device and browser privacy updates become more prevalent, we needed to reduce our reliance on third-party data. So, we set out to work with DataDelivers on identifying and connecting more first-party data. Since then, our strategy continues to evolve. Not only are we using the insights and data for advertising, but we’re able to use and structure the data to inform marketing decisions (which customers groups get which message, opportunities for strategy adjustments, sales insights, etc.). We are also exploring efficiencies in other departments when it comes to analytics and reporting.

HT: Now that you can identify non-members and understand their visit and purchase behavior, how is Kahala Brands planning to increase enrollment in its loyalty programs?

Maxedon: This is a multi-pronged approach. We have identified all the major touch points that customers interact or are presented with our brand and then work to incorporate Loyalty into those touchpoints depending on where customers are at in their journey. For example, we are working with our loyalty vendor and POS vendor on an integration to help with in-store acquisition into our program. We’re acquiring members through our online ordering program so we have worked to make program adoption as clear and seamless as possible. We also recently released a new Cold Stone app with heavy loyalty integration which opens up more opportunities for us through new messaging channels and personalization.

The important piece of acquisition as it relates to DataDelivers is better visibility into where customers are at in the funnel and an opportunity to personalize messaging to them based on that. All brands are talking about personalization and 1:1 marketing, and that is something that is also a huge focus for us.

HT: What's next on the technology front that you can tell me about?

Maxedon: We are constantly exploring new marketing technology and what makes sense for our brands. ... We have a large number of concepts so we’re always looking at if and how we can scale our approach and technology. We released a new custom app for Cold Stone that is scalable to some of our other brands that have the resources to support it and within that app comes new opportunities for messaging. I’m really excited to explore that.

Digital ordering continues to be another initiative for us because the ease and convenience of digital ordering and delivery is a consumer expectation which has been accelerated since COVID. So, we are evaluating data and feedback to determine what’s next for our digital ordering programs – especially when it comes to customizing and improving the order experience. 

Last but not least – better integrated systems is always at the forefront. Looking for a way in which our current programs can become more efficient and effective through connectivity and adding in additional ones when and where it makes sense.





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