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Tropical Smoothie Cafe Dream Team Uses Digital to Build Brand Loyalty

Millennials are expected to comprise 75% of the entire U.S. workforce by 2025*. Marketing effectively to this group with their technological prowess and demand for convenience is a challenge for many brands. But, not for Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Recognizing the wave of change with these engaged millennials, they have assembled a Digital Experience Team. Two members of this team are Paula Rotondo and Kira McCabe. Together, they have experience in Marketing, Business, Social Media, Email Marketing, Production, and Reporting, making them a dream team for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. They understand the niche of the millennial audience because they are millennials themselves.

Once the team was assembled, they took a deep dive into the tools at their fingertips for building brand loyalty. In their arsenal were social media platforms, brand websites, paid media, eClub, and the Tropical Rewards App.

Many of these had already proven successful, like the mobile app which garnered 1.5 million downloads. “Our app lets us see purchase behavior, frequency, and demographic information for our Guests, helping us to understand them like never before and direct our messaging to them,” Rotondo said. A great example of this was a Missouri Franchise Owner who sent handwritten holiday cards to his most loyal Guests with data pulled from the app dashboard.

The effect Rotondo and McCabe have had on the brand is wide-ranging. They work hard to stay ahead of the ever expanding digital sphere. When developing digital campaigns, they layer messaging to create an immersive brand experience. Whether a Guest is interacting with the brand in-store, through Facebook, or while using the mobile app, consistent messaging is important. The in-app ordering brings the convenience millennials are looking for while the layered messaging helps to keep Tropical Smoothie Cafe top of mind.

In addition to campaign development, they interact daily with Guests and Franchise Owners. They handle community management, content creation, and feedback on the customer side and train Franchise Owners to become digital ambassadors.

“The best part of my job,” McCabe said, “is when Franchise Owners call and say they are so excited to have a digital team and want to share their ideas. Ideas aren’t generated by only one person and we love collaborating with our Franchise Owners. Leadership doesn’t stop at the C-level. It’s so motivating and inspiring to be here, where everyone wants to do well for the brand.”

Digital owns the lay of the land and people like Paula and Kira are what make branding and the digital experience so powerful for Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise Owners.



*Governance Studies at Brookings Report, “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America”

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