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    on May 29, 2020 Retail

    How Vera Bradley is navigating the coronavirus (with podcast)

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    The coronavirus has forced most industries to shift the way they do business. But the effects of this pandemic have hit retail especially hard. 

    On Market with Me Quikly — a podcast to inform, educate and assist B2C marketers in doing their job just a little bit better — we’re excited to feature Vera Bradley, a retail brand we think others can learn a lot from. 

    Not only has Vera Bradley built a devout following by really understanding their customers, but the company is using this time to continue catering to them. One way the brand is doing this is by adapting emails and social strategies to what consumers want to see right now. Additionally, the brand continues to ask fans to get involved. 

    And Vera Bradley is doing all of this while sticking to its core values —specifically kindness, empathy and optimism. That’s according to the company’s brand marketing manager, Jillian Speck. 

    “Nothing is really the same as it was a week ago,” Speck said. “And even from then, nothing was the same a week before.” 

    In our conversation, she offered a lot of valuable insight that can help other marketers navigate doing their jobs as we continue acclimating to this environment. Here’s a key takeaway: 

    Get scrappier and happier with engagement

    Speck talked about a time pre-quarantine when marketers like her could plan a photoshoot and schedule content for perfectly curated feeds on social media.

    “But when something like this happens, you really have to take a second look and you have to get a little bit scrappier,” she explained. 

    One way Vera Bradley is doing this is by asking customers to get involved.

    “Everybody loves the chance to potentially get reshared by their favorite brand,” Speck said.

    And the content that’s being reshared isn't usually product or sales focused. The company is looking for happy moments that will brighten someone’s day. 

    This has come in the form of blanket forts being built in people’s homes and bags being brought to socially distanced picnics. Themes of self-care and gratitude are regularly sprinkled into their copy. It’s obvious the Vera Bradley marketing team has been on the lookout for new, upbeat ways of using consumers’ content while quarantined.

    Additionally, Speck said the company has been trying new content ideas they wouldn’t have otherwise that will bring consumers entertaining value to help them through this time, stuck at home.

    One example that came to mind for Speck was a workout video on Facebook, demonstrating how to use Vera Bradley lunch bags for bicep curls. 

    And they’ve sought the help of coworkers company wide, asking everyone: “What can you uniquely bring to our audience right now?” 

    This has led to their art director hosting a series on new cocktail concoctions and their CEO sharing a favorite recipe. 

    “It has been really fun to try new things and really see what our customer is loving,” Speck noted.

    Check out the full podcast episode with Speck for more details on how Vera Bradley is engaging with their customers.

    We’re going to continue these conversations around marketing through the quarantine and beyond. If you think you can bring some level of expertise or exciting knowledge that we wouldn’t have otherwise — please reach out. 

    You can email us directly at andrea@quikly.com.

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    Andrea Gonzales-Paul

    Andrea Gonzales-Paul is a brand journalist at Quikly. Her background is in storytelling, specifically working in TV news and documentary filmmaking.