Chameleon Collective & Vera Bradley: A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership
Vera Bradley, an emblematic brand adored for its designer women’s accessories, found itself at multiple crossroads over our multi-year engagement. During our initial engagement, the company faced a strategic turning point under the helm of a new CMO. The challenge was to develop and articulate a far-sighted vision and strategy for the brand that was not only consistent with the financial goals of the company but also would drive customer acquisition, retention, and brand revitalization. Further into the engagement, not only had their pivotal digital marketing leadership role been abruptly vacated, ushering in a successor with great potential but limited experience, but the brand’s digital success from 2020 and 2021 was majorly hinged on face mask sales. As the market saw a waning need for masks into 2022, Vera Bradley faced a three-fold challenge: effectively guiding their new digital leader, pivoting away from mask-driven revenues, and overall, under the leadership of a new CMO, conceptualizing a long-term vision that would ensure customer acquisition, loyalty, and brand rejuvenation.
At Chameleon Collective, our transformative model is driven by a commitment to understand and integrate into our client’s unique culture, needs, and vision. With Vera Bradley, our involvement spanned across multiple service lines.
Working with the newly minted CMO, the key approach was to lead and mentor a large marketing team towards the development of a robust, 3-year strategic plan. Our CMO level Strategist advised and supported the CMO to identify specific KPIs for customer acquisition and value enhancement, aligning plans with cross-functional teams including design, product development, and merchandising, and creating an integrated marketing calendar. Our team worked to identify the brand’s core value proposition, establish customer profiles, devise omnichannel strategies, and determine optimal marketing spend. Central to our collaboration was the intensive coaching we provided to Vera Bradley’s emerging digital leader. Our seasoned experts offered tailored guidance, encompassing the vast realms of digital marketing, leadership nuances, and adept vendor management. By imparting best-in-class practices across all digital channels, we ensured Vera Bradley was armed with the knowledge and skills to both interpret and steer their growth trajectory. Additionally, our interim Brand Director took the helm, ensuring precise inter-departmental communication and fostering a holistic shift towards a consumer-centric 360-degree marketing model. In order to make a lasting impact, our Brand Director worked with every member of the marketing and creative department, to ensure there was clarity in role, responsibilities, and cross functional process. Every team member from C-Suite to Contractor was involved in the drafting of their job descriptions and role within each of the 9 Vera Bradley specific workflows.
Recognizing the depth of Vera Bradley’s transition needs, our strategy went beyond traditional consultancy. We heightened the brand’s agency performance insights, allowing them to critically evaluate propositions and sideline recommendations that didn’t resonate with their overarching objectives. Alongside, we introduced a consortium of avant-garde vendors, shedding light on the true avenues driving brand success. We ensured that every process was not only procedural but steeped in the brand’s culture, offering a meticulous guide for each marketing initiative, and giving individualized attention to every team member’s transition. A true cross functional team was established, where omni channel campaigns were connected from strategy to execution – resulting in efficiency of resources and investment. The organization was provided with a robust process document, to serve as a reminder of best in class workflows that were written as a team, ensuring the team could navigate without Chameleon’s assistance and could train and onboard new members as needed.
As Vera Bradley aimed to capitalize on its in-house talent while transitioning to an internal agency model, our recruitment team spearheaded the hunt for fitting talent. We aligned our recruitment strategy with the brand’s ethos and needs, ensuring candidates weren’t just skilled, but also culturally attuned. Key placements, including roles like Brand Marketing Director, eCommerce Product leader and Retail Store Manager, were seamlessly managed across the organization.
Vera Bradley’s strategic plan ensure sustainable growth.
Chameleon Collective’s multi-faceted approach bore significant fruits. For the 3-year plan, we successfully culminated this extensive planning process into a comprehensive strategic plan. This plan offered a clearly defined roadmap, emphasizing key priorities with specific milestones, thereby ensuring actionable plans were in place. This work marked a significant step in Vera Bradley’s strategic growth, paving the way for sustained customer acquisition, brand revitalization, and overall company success. The intensive coaching charted an accelerated path for the internally-promoted digital leader, seeing them rise to a directorial position within a few months. The testament to our partnership’s value was Vera Bradley’s decision to extend our engagement nearly two-fold, from six to eleven months. Our strategies played a pivotal role in reversing the declining online revenue trend – a success made even more pronounced given the contrasting downturn in their physical store performance. Beyond numbers, the strategic transition facilitated by us empowered Vera Bradley to provide a richer, more consumer-centric brand experience. The success of this transition became a beacon of the potential of agility, robust in-house talent, and comprehensive processes in sculpting brand excellence. The creation and implementation of the 3-year strategic plan under the guidance of our CxO level leaders further fortified Vera Bradley’s growth trajectory, setting the brand on a course for sustainable customer engagement, brand resurgence, and overarching success. Our work with Vera Bradley not only bolstered their current stance but set them on a path of continued success and growth.