Direct to consumer (or D2C) brands are companies that manufacture and ship their products straight to customers. This approach negates the need for traditional shops or intermediaries, while increasing firsthand interaction with their intended target audiences.
Some of the most popular D2C brands are instantly recognisable – like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier and Made.com. The emergence of these – and other – D2C brands in recent years has caused seismic shifts in consumer buying patterns and attitudes – with many of the aftershocks still being felt today. Regardless of whether you have embraced the D2C revolution or not, you can’t deny that they have been an integral part of redefining retail.
Armed with a marketing arsenal rarely seen by traditional retailers, D2C brands have steadily infiltrated every aspect of modern life. They’re dedicated to developing products that potential customers are likely to fall in love with. When this dedication is paired with the ability to both create authentic experiences and form meaningful relationships with customers, it’s no surprise that the D2C revolution has been so successful.
So, what made this retail reform possible? The answer is likely to lie in collaboration.
Many of the most successful D2C brands work with influencers. As their title may suggest, these individuals literally use their influence over an audience to promote the brand’s products or services. Integrating influencer marketing into your D2C brand’s wider marketing strategy may hold the key to targeting previously unreachable audiences, while establishing a team of dedicated brand advocates, to help make your voice heard in an increasingly saturated market.
How? Well, read on and find out…
Back to basics: What is influencer marketing?
Integrating an influencer marketing strategy into your wider marketing strategy can help your D2C brand, but first, we’ve got to cover what the practice actually is. According to Pixlee, influencer marketing is:
“A form of marketing that focuses on targeting key industry leaders to drive brand message and awareness to a specific market of consumers.”
Influencer marketing revolves around using influential individuals. These individuals have the power to sway the opinions of their audiences, and will endorse brands’ products and services. The practice is similar to word-of-mouth advertising, but doesn’t rely wholly on recommendations.
In the Information Age, it is possible for anyone to become an influencer – they often focus on specific niches, and have positioned themselves as authentic and credible sources of information in their industry. Simply, when an influencer promotes a product, many individuals will see their endorsement as more trustworthy than a traditional advertising campaign.
The benefits of working with influencers to promote your D2C brand
Influencer marketing has been the industry’s most popular buzzword for a few years now. As its popularity grows, influencer marketing is increasingly proving itself to be a worthwhile investment. When done correctly, working with influencers is a reliable way of putting your brand in front of the audience that you want to connect with.
Improves brand awareness
First and foremost, working with the right influencers is the key to improving your brand awareness. Many influencers have a significant following that is mostly made up of a young audience – primarily Millennials and Gen Z. Their audiences rely on the influencer for their recommendations and opinions, meaning that if the influencer ‘likes’ the products or services offered by your D2C brand, then their audience is likely to enjoy it, too.
Access to previously unreachable audiences
As traditional online advertising falls increasingly out of favour with consumers, partnering with the ‘right’ influencer could open your D2C brand up to an audience that couldn’t be targeted previously. Working with influencers can help position your brand’s products right where they need to be – where your intended target audience is most active.
Influencers are on-trend
Influencers are generally regarded as a go-to source of information when they review products. The thoughts and opinions that they share are respected and understood by their audience – meaning that many of them are hailed as experts in their industry. Plus, with many influencers choosing to focus on a specific niche – whether that be beauty, fitness or technology – the recommendation of your D2C brand’s products can assure users that it is ‘cool’ and on-trend.
We’ve covered why you should consider influencer marketing as part of your brand or business’ wider marketing strategy before – so give it a read if you need some more convincing.
Meet the D2C brands nailing their influencer marketing strategies
With a strong influencer marketing strategy, a D2C brand can witness great successes on social media and beyond. Here are some of the brands winning the influencer game:
Simba is a D2C mattress manufacturer, based in the UK. They entice customers with their quick and easy online mattress buying service, and a majority of their products come with a 100-night guarantee – meaning that customers who aren’t satisfied with their purchase can get their money back (providing they haven’t voided the warranty).
Since being founded in 2015, Simba has been striving to assert itself as a disruptor in an industry that hasn’t witnessed any innovation in decades.
In 2016, Simba combined smart targeting and behavioural insights to establish their ‘National Lie In Bed Day’ campaign, which launched when the clocks went back on October 30. The campaign was fronted by a multitude of social influencers – like Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue and dad-blogger Father of Daughters (or Simon), who shared content on social media promoting how a Simba mattress gave them a reason to stay in bed, and was paired with a dedicated #NationalLieInBedDay hashtag (which was pushed via the brand’s social media platforms).
Image credit: bdaily.co.uk
Glossier is one of America’s most popular D2C beauty brands, that came to the UK in 2017. The brand is famed for its innovative skincare and subtle beauty products, and encourages its customers to embrace ‘no-makeup makeup’ looks.
Since its conception in 2010, Glossier has been ripping up the marketing playbook. The brand’s CEO, Emily Weiss, regards every Glossier customer to be an influencer, in addition to its 500-strong army of representatives.
Glossier has been a driving force in bringing the beauty industry into the modern age; the brand was actively built to revolve around the “Instagram Makeup” movement, where audiences can find reviews and product endorsements with a few swipes through a social media channel of choice.
Their unique approach to influencer marketing helped the brand secure more than 75% of their sales in 2016 from organic sources – like their representative programme and word-of-mouth from customers. Buzzfeed also highlighted in 2016 that even though Glossier used marketing activities, it was so subtle that customers hardly noticed – much like the nature of many of Glossier’s products.
Image credit: marketingweek.com
We’ve covered Glossier’s marketing successes in the past, but the brand is proving to be a marketing force to be reckoned with in all aspects of its wider strategy.
Regardless of how you see the retail revolution, direct to consumer brands are here to stay. Integrating influencer marketing into your brand’s wider marketing strategy can help your brand appear more authentic and reliable, while opening your products or services up to a previously unconsidered audience. By connecting with the right influencers, and forming meaningful relationships with your brand’s customers, you could unlock the power to position your D2C brand as a disruptive force in modern retail.