Fresh off the heels of our star-studded Top DTC Brands of 2019 report comes a question – how have all these extremely different brands made the DTC model work?
In one corner, we have sunscreen and skincare brand Supergoop! They promote healthy skincare routines; the “healthy” part referring to proactive sun protection, as their products all contain sunscreen. On the seemingly opposite end of the spectrum, Imperfect Produce is a little more Grocery Outlet meets Instacart: cheap, blemished or misshapen produce delivered to your door. In their own words, 20 billion pounds of produce goes to waste every year; their plan is to change that.
So what does a high-end skincare brand have to do with fruits and veggies, and what does this have to do with your business?
Beyond the fact that these products target different markets for entirely different purposes, when we step back from the products themselves for a second, we begin to see and interesting story in the marketing. Supergoop’s skincare products serve a multi-faceted set of purposes while employing straightforward practical language. In comparison, Imperfect Produce’s mission-driven statement – cutting down on food waste of fruits and veggies to reinvigorate the fresh food supply chain at reasonable prices – also touches on the same practicality, but takes aim at addressing food deserts.
Both of these brands identified a core value that was central to their audience and built their brand agenda around this. Their agenda, found in their mission statements and UGC, is to make life better – not just through the retail bliss of buying something, but through purchasing from a brand that aligns holistically with their beliefs.
Good Marketing? Perhaps More
These brands have taken off into the financial stratosphere, both with sizeable Series B investments, but in the case of Supergoop, a very healthy $40 million dollar revenue year in 2018. Not bad for a brand started in 2007, who received their first major funding in 2013.
Imperfect Produce is not far behind – taking-in over $47 million in funding over their last 3 years, and a recent USDA ruling should enable Imperfect Produce to send to SNAP benefit users.
Flush from successful quarters and recent rounds of funding, both DTC brands are moving on to new product lines – with Supergoop, its additional cosmetic products with sun protection, such as eyeshade with 30 SPF protection called Simmershade. With Imperfect Produce, the business model is expanding to other groceries dubbed”imperfect” that can be sold directly to the consumer. What these DTC’s aren’t forgetting, however, is that their consistent core messaging achieves a very specific niche in the market: customers rally behind them because they resonate with the ethos of the brand. The business practices are elementary – as the companies find success, they aim to expand. But as they pivot to new product lines, retaining the community-driven marketing strategy appears crucial to the brands’ continued success
Translating this Success into Practice
How does this relate to you? All of the brands that made our Top 30 DTC brands list are highly engaged with their community. Not only does it make them stand out, but it’s such a powerful tool in fostering a bi-directional conversation with their customers.
These DTC brands mix value-based messages into a comprehensive marketing stack – for brands looking to break into the next level of user engagement, look into ways you can adopt similar policies and messages into your content. And, when in doubt, look at what your target audience is already saying to inform your next brand value or product innovation.