Welcome to the first – and hopefully last – annual award for the most in-touch retailer and service provider email. In so many words, let’s honor the promotional emails we’ve all received in the last 10 days from retail brands that didn’t seem completely tone deaf. The flaws in the methodology here notwithstanding, these are the brands who in a professional “unsubscribe me from this list” opinion, inboxed me with the best note at a time that’s confused us all.
Why such a short list? There are too many brands completely missing the mark. St. Patrick’s Day came and went (you’d be excused for not noticing), yet I received a note from one clothier encouraging me to buy their green sweats. OK, your email marketing tech was set and you simply forgot. Mistakes happen. I get it… but then they emailed me two days later w/ another “great offer.” Another retailer thought it best to celebrate the vernal equinox with their spring kick-off sale. It was a good discount, but huh?!
Ultimately, they’re always selling something and in the most normal circumstances, everyone is always buying something. That’s a third of our nation’s GDP. The key here though is that the most cognizant brands this week made human connection their main business and sales second.
Open Table – This reservations app was quick to engage with local business owners on how they could work together. They knew it was in the businesses’ best interests to sell restaurant gift cards. As they put it: “This allows restaurants to maintain some cash flow to pay employees and bills — and gives you something to look forward to in the future!” Supporting small businesses is absolutely critical and Open Table used their brain, recognized the landscape has changed, and they put their restaurant partners first (unlike every airline telling me that now is a great time to fly!)
The New Yorker – A nod to thought-provoking journalism, something for which we should always pay a premium. This magazine, among other publications, started offering their content for free because one of the most valuable commodities in these and other times, is information. Per their email: “Amid the demands of ‘social-distancing,’ we are, like you, finding creative ways to keep in touch with one another and do the very best work we can for you. As part of that effort, we’ve made our news coverage and analysis of the current crisis on newyorker.com available for free to all readers.” As a former journalist, bravo, New Yorker. And for those of you who are in need of some reading material to fill in the time and want to support great journalism, you can subscribe here.
Equinox – They stayed open as long as they could but were eventually forced to close and freeze memberships. Since the outbreak began, they were punctual about member updates and immediately had an at-home workout solution when we all got locked in. In the words of their chairman: “Be safe, remain healthy and we look forward to welcoming you back into our clubs as quickly and safely as possible.” Their at-home free workouts are updated daily and are practical.
Danner – Random as it is, I bought a pair of boots years ago and remained an email subscriber for their blog photos. Seriously, their blog is gorgeous. They announced corporate office and store closings like many companies, but this retailer went with the deep, thoughtful cut. “And those who choose the unlikely path, those who cut fresh trails, those who pioneer through uncertain times …Be assured, though our doors may be closed, we continue to work behind the scenes to serve you.”
That last line reminds me of our agency and many other firms (some of whom are competitors) and brands I respect.
I’ll update this list in the coming weeks when my colleagues weigh in, but the Slack channels are flooded with enough right now.
Stay safe, friends.