Industry Voices: Marketing in Uncertain Times with Cuts

For most retailers, the past few months have been a learning curve. Many have had to adjust their marketing spend, as well as look at how to best reach and engage consumers amid the pandemic.

We spoke with Steven Borrelli, founder and CEO of Cuts Clothing, about the changes the company has made during these past few months and how the brand is looking to make its shirts the new Zoom attire.

Have you seen a difference in consumer behavior?

Yes. Before, we saw a lot of our returning customers [shopping for the same thing]. For example, if they really liked the color black, they would continue to wear black. One of the things we’ve noticed with Zoom calls is that people don’t want to look like they’re wearing the same shirt every day. So we’ve had to expand the amount of colors we have per product.

What’s more, during the pandemic we launched polos, and we’re seeing a huge uptake in sales. We sold out in our very first week. We’ve coined polos as the perfect Zoom work attire shirt, simply because you may only have a little screen to show your style and the Zoom polo will allow you to look like you’re dressing up—even if you’re wearing underwear and no shoes.

In the past few months, brands have changed their investment in advertising—both traditional and digital. Cuts initially pulled back its investment in podcast advertising, given that people were no longer commuting. But the company has since reinstated podcast advertising. Tell us what led to this change.

No one really expected the pandemic to go on this long. You’re seeing consumers finding other forms of media to fill up their time. So we said, ‘Hey, you know what? It’s time.’ We started back with a pretty hefty podcast [budget], and we’re careful on where we advertise. For example, there’s no sports on now, so we’re not going to buy media on those as much, as opposed to political channels, where they’re talking about the pandemic, as well as health and wellness channels.

Outside of podcast advertising, were there any other channels that you also pulled back on initially?

We had plans to do connected TV, again with a sports focus, with ESPN. We decided not to do that and just focus on what we’re great in. Right now, it’s important not to get too cute, and to really double down on your strengths. We do well on Facebook and Instagram, as well as Google and Snapchat. So we’ve really focused on making those better and going deeper.

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