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BELLA+CANVAS: How They Pivoted Their Messaging — Fast

The largest U.S. manufacturer of clothing and apparel completely shifted their capabilities to produce millions of face masks and updated their marketing message to match. See how they did it.

Most brands changed messaging in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Others did even more. BELLA+CANVAS, the largest U.S. manufacturer of clothing and apparel, completely shifted their manufacturing capabilities to produce millions of cotton and fleece face masks and updated their marketing message to match.

It started as a way to help with the severe shortage of protective equipment for healthcare workers. Now, the masks are available to anyone who needs them. “We’re focusing on how we can support our community,” says Roxane Chabassier, the company’s digital marketing director. They also adapted their marketing messages to fit this new normal since, she says, “Selling products right now is weird.”

Here’s how their messaging has changed.

They cut back their welcome series

For years, the marketing team at BELLA+CANVAS worked to create the perfect welcome email series for shoppers, which is important since 83% of shoppers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products. They thought through every detail: subject lines, copy, cadence, and timing of sends. They considered customer pain points and offered samples and discounts to encourage shoppers to give products a try. They highlighted shoppers and their stories and they A/B tested everything using Datorama, primarily to review sequence metrics (within a specific timeframe and comprehensively) and send time reports. One big finding? Their engagement is best in the afternoon — 3 p.m. to be specific.

When COVID-19 upended normal life, the team knew their welcome series had to reflect new realities. Customers were anxious about the virus and the many ways it was affecting their day-to-day lives. They had less time and attention for emails about products they didn’t need immediately. BELLA+CANVAS reacted by cutting the series from 14 messages, each about two days apart, down to a total of two messages.

For guidance on how to update communications to customers, watch this webinar.

They created a new series for customers seeking face masks

When decision-makers at BELLA+CANVAS heard anecdotal reports about the shortage of masks for healthcare workers and patients, they realized they were in a unique position to help. With the material for their usual soft clothing on hand and manufacturing facilities available, the company quickly ramped up production on millions of cotton and fleece masks — while adhering to their usual sustainable practices. 

Their marketing team felt mask shoppers should receive a welcome series that reflected their unique needs. That new series is primarily focused on masks and community support through partnerships with charities and celebrities. The team leaned on the best practices they developed over the years to create a new series. “We had to switch all of our branding and all of our marketing. It was a big take-on, kind of like starting a new startup,” says Chabassier.

The BELLA+CANVAS team takes engagement a step further with Marketing Cloud to trigger advertising on social channels based on which emails customers click. “People look at things very quickly, so we try to hit that factor again,” Chabassier says. The team continues to A/B test. One early finding: people are engaging at the same time as they did with the previous welcome series. Site visits increase after lunchtime.

Learn how to create and send an email using Marketing Cloud with this Trailhead learning module.

They spread the word about mask availability

The company has donated masks to hospitals and law enforcement, low-income families, shelters, organizations, and governments around the world. Anyone in need can request free masks.

Now, as face masks become a daily accessory to prevent the spread of COVID-19, BELLA+CANVAS is offering its products in some retail stores, including Target, Erewhon, Office Depot, Michaels, and Staples.

The lesson learned? Move quickly. Right now, there isn’t time to think about new monthly or seasonal marketing campaigns. Businesses need to take action within days, especially when it comes to social media. “It’s less about doing things 100% perfect, and more about being in tune with today’s message,” says Chabassier.

Learn how to make a game plan for your brand as your customers face new realities. 

Takeaway

The ability to adapt quickly is useful in the best of times, but it’s absolutely critical in a crisis. Brands that do it best can strengthen customer loyalty and continue to evolve in smart ways. Learn how to communicate with customers during a crisis, and leverage social communication to engage with them using Salesforce Care for Social Community Engagement.

For more examples of how companies are pivoting to meet new customer needs, check out our Leading Through Change blog series. It shares thought leadership, tips, and resources for business leaders. Check out some of our most recent articles:

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