When communities in Texas were left without electricity or water after a devastating winter storm, four brands—Gallery Furniture, Shelly Cove, Elevated Faith, and CarParts.com—used personalized text messaging to mobilize their audience and provide relief.
After a winter storm devastated large swaths of the Central and Southern United States, many Texans were left without electricity or running water—and some without a warm place to stay. Alongside organizations and community leaders, brands quickly moved to support those affected by the outages amidst freezing temperatures. And many turned to personalized text messaging as a way to connect with their most engaged customers.
Leveraging personalized text messaging to drive community action isn’t a new trend. Over the past year, brands have increasingly relied on SMS as a direct communications channel to educate their audience about their core values and the organizations they support. Today, 68% of consumers expect brands to share their values and actively champion those that take a stand.
Text messaging uniquely equips brands to build trust with consumers through personalized, 1:1 conversations. And when the community was in crisis, these brands were able to drive both connection and time-sensitive action.
Opening doors to provide on-the-ground relief
Houston retailer Gallery Furniture opened their doors to provide shelter from freezing temperatures—offering food, water, and beds to those affected by the storm. To spread the word, the brand texted subscribers encouraging them to take shelter at their nearest location. The message was personalized from the company’s founder, Mattress Mack.
“Most people carry essential things with them in a time of crisis, and a cell phone is one of them,” said Angelica Folliard, Director of Marketing at Gallery Furniture. “We knew getting the word out via text message would help us spread the news faster—and get people into the safety of a warming shelter in their area. And as people texted us their logistical questions about seeking shelter, our team was able to respond to them right away.”
Knowing volunteers were needed to distribute food and water, Gallery Furniture reached out to their highly engaged SMS subscribers. The retailer sent a text message letting subscribers know about opportunities to help their community.
Gallery Furniture’s audience reacted positively to their SMS campaigns, with many texting back offering their support and thanks. “We received hundreds of individual messages thanking Mattress Mack personally and praising his humanitarian efforts during the winter storm crisis in Houston,” Folliard said.
Building urgency to give back
Consumers want to know that their purchases are making an impact. Brands committed to making a difference are sharing their philanthropic initiatives to incentivize shoppers who want to make purposeful purchases.
Clothing brand Shelly Cove is dedicated to saving sea turtles. Each month, the brand donates a portion of their proceeds to the Karen Beasley Turtle Hospital. After Sea Turtle Inc. rescued over 5,000 turtles from freezing waters off the coast of Texas, Shelly Cove acted quickly to provide support.
We gathered everyone on the team and brainstormed what we could do to help. We figured Sea Turtle Inc needed funds, so we decided the quickest way we could take action would be to donate 100% of our profits for 24 hours. In less than a day, we were able to get press and influencers on board to spread awareness.”
– Matt Schroeder, CEO of Shelly Cove
The brand used text messaging to spread the word about their effort. “We’ve discovered that our most engaged customers and fans are SMS subscribers,” Schroeder said. “We knew if someone was subscribed to our SMS program, they’d be very interested in contributing their efforts to what was happening.”
Shelly Cove sent a text message to their subscribers letting them know that they would donate 100% of their profits to Sea Turtle Inc. “If a consumer was on the fence about purchasing, it was the day to shop because they knew exactly what impact they were going to have,” Schroeder said.
Text messaging subscribers ultimately drove over a third of Shelly Cove’s total donation to Sea Turtle Inc. In addition to the brand’s 24-hour campaign, Shelly Cove encouraged their audience to donate directly to Sea Turtle Inc, linking to a donation page on their website.
Driving donations to relief funds
Brands are relying on text messaging to drive community action because they know their audiences are eager to get involved. They’re maximizing the impact of their partnerships with organizations, such as Feeding America, by updating text messaging subscribers on ways they can give back.
Faith-based apparel and jewelry retailer Elevated Faith committed to donating 100% of their profits to organizations providing relief to Texans.
After seeing the devastation on the news, our team felt called to give back to the organizations helping Texans who were affected. As a faith-based company, we had a unique opportunity to help the cause..”
– Josh Gander, Founder and CEO of Elevated Faith.
To drive immediate action, Elevated Faith sent a text message letting subscribers know what impact their purchase would make.
“This initiative really resonated with our subscribers, and we want to continue launching campaigns like this moving forward,” said Gander.
Elevated Faith was impressed by the response they received from their audience. “It was great to see our customers get involved,” Gander said. “We had a lot of people reaching out asking if they could share this campaign on their social media accounts, so we saw a ton of people getting involved to support this mission of giving back.”
Another brand, CarParts.com, saw an opportunity to directly give back to their community, too.
Todd Percival, our Director of Distribution Center Operations in Grand Prairie, personally delivered blankets, food, and water to employees who had lost power. We were inspired to do everything we could to help the rest of our community. With our Texas relief initiative and advanced donation to Feeding Texas, we’re committed to providing our friends and neighbors with both immediate and long-term relief.”
– Renwick Sarmiento, Director of Retention Marketing at CarParts.com
With its inherently personal nature, text messaging was a key channel for communicating about CarParts.com’s initiative. “To stand with the community and encourage our customers to support Texas relief and recovery efforts, we wanted to spread the word by maximizing our reach across all of our different channels,” said Sarmiento. “SMS was a big part of that because it connects with customers on a more personal level.”
Consumers are looking for new ways to give back and support causes they care about. By sharing social impact opportunities via text messaging, brands are able to drive immediate action. Promoting important initiatives to SMS subscribers can help you build trust with your customers—ensuring an even greater impact the next time you encourage your audience to support a cause.
Looking for a way to support those impacted by the winter storm in Texas? Donate to Feeding Texas.