Speed has never been more critical to DSW Inc.’s marketing operations.

In the last few months since the coronavirus pandemic became widespread in the U.S., the shoe and handbag retail chain DSW has drastically changed its marketing messages, spend and how it even puts together a new marketing campaign, says DSW chief marketing officer Amy Stevenson.

“We had to change everything—absolutely everything—and that starts with the message,” Stevenson says.

In the first few weeks in March, when the spread of COVID-19 accelerated in the U.S. and many municipalities announced stay-at-home orders, DSW’s marketing message focused on the health and safety of its associates. It also focused on customer service policies, such as extended return policies and extending the expiration date of its loyalty program rewards points.

That initial “triage” period took about three weeks. And by the beginning of April, consumers were more settled into the new, normal way of life, Stevenson says. Then, DSW moved into its next phase of COVID-19 messaging, which it anticipates employing through the end of July, Stevenson says. This phase has four major pillars:

To get immediate access to the rest of this article, sign up for a free Strategy Membership using the Join for Free button below. If you’re already a member, please sign in.


Want to read more?
Unlock Free Strategy Membership

Complete your free registration now to access this story and more in-depth reporting, data, and analysis

Already a member? Sign In