Brands born on the internet are starting to head out into the sunlight. Digital native companies like Glossier, Casper, and Outdoor Voices, are clamoring for more exposure in undiscovered places. They’re gaining traction and entering new phases of growth. As they transform industries, they transform how and why people shop. And this isn’t just happening on social media: it’s happening in real life, across traditional marketing platforms. From direct mail to TV ads to brick and mortar storefronts, those ‘online only’ sites are beginning to hit backspace on their claims. The digitally native brands you know and love are now becoming omnichannel sellers — and the success they’re finding is making them top competitors online and offline.
What is a Digitally Native Brand?
These digital brands are all the rave across Facebook, Instagram, and everything in between. They’re revolutionizing old industries, (think health, home, and beauty,) clad in sleek, consumer-focused brand identities that beg for attention. They’re the foundation of the D2C, or direct-to-consumer, landscape where transactions are made digitally between buyers and businesses. Retailers have been replaced by websites where ease is a top priority. Consumers know what to expect and businesses are able to gather useful information about these target audiences for future usage. Stock overhead is limited, first-party data is accessed, hyper-targeted marketing and programmatic becomes possible; D2C, put plainly, has completely changed the face of buying behavior. These brands are disruptors that charge ahead with data and confidence in hand. And as more entrepreneurs with small business enter the digital space, (who can blame them – the benefits at hand are promising,) more original D2C brands are searching elsewhere for exposure. For many, that exposure exists beyond the realm of HTML codes and Shopify. It’s outside – where face to face interactions thrive and brand stories come to life.
What’s Next for D2C? Why Traditional Marketing?
Allbirds, Harry’s, Bombas; think of a successful D2C brand and these are just a few that come to mind. They are digitally oriented companies with boatloads of data that can be used across platforms. But can these platforms be offline? And if so, how? Where? Because more D2C brands are being forged, more D2C natives are finding it difficult to become discoverable across search engines. Which is why television and retail – yes, the industries these brands sought to challenge in the first place – are having a resurgence. It’s a goodbye to saturation and a promising hello to traditional marketing. So dust off your TVs and take a walk downtown, because those brands you’ve been seeing online just might be making a physical stop near you sometime soon:
- Why Television?: TV is still the most popular entertainment medium in the US. Even though phones and laptops are slowly becoming our best friends, that TV in the corner of your room is worth something to other consumers and marketers across industries. Unlike YouTube, the option to skip ads isn’t possible, (unless you choose to switch back and forth between channels) and the lengthiness of videos is compelling. Instead of delivering information quickly on the spot, a TV ad makes it possible to craft a campaign beyond the product itself. A story can be told outside of an image or a 15-30 second spot with the power of sight and sound. And if something is deemed relatable, entertaining, or emotional, a consumer will listen and remember the brand’s message. TV ads also provide clarity while defining reputability. It’s a medium traditionally reserved for big name brands with history and large consumer followings. So if a D2C brand makes it on TV, they’re automatically viewed as leaders in their industries. Online, that’s been difficult to establish. But with TV, (for the time being,) it’s a different story.
- And Retail?: The empty storefronts downtown are being taken over by event spaces and pop-up shops. Digitally native brands are dominating the web, but consumers are still living day-to-day in the physical space. They like to shop, learn more, explore new brands, get immersed by the companies they trust. To meet targets, (new and old) and show off products, D2C companies are pursuing retail. Physical spaces are becoming showrooms for websites where events can be held and products can be purchased in-real-time. Shipping fees are gone and questions are answered on the spot. It’s another way to meet and teach others, all while establishing a positive brand identity. And if consumers don’t buy right then and there in store, maybe their positive experience will incentivize them to buy online. It’s a touchpoint that is growing in popularity; giving a more enhanced view of brands and their unique personalities.
TV advertising and pop-up shops are only the beginning. The data points these brands have earned online can be used in these outlets to create more transformative experiences. By doing so, D2C brands can expect higher conversions and greater profits just by stepping outside. Because it’s no longer just about being digital — it’s about using what was obtained from digital to make even greater impact offline.