The hottest segment in retail is direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands. It’s also very competitive and quickly evolving, from online-only to multi-channel, with many companies adding physical stores to maintain an edge and continue growing.

People have long since stopped buying because they NEED things. They now buy because they WANT things. This difference is critical and is the basis of Branding.

Why Brand?, moving from need to want in buying adds value/margin It erodes competitive threat, but does not remove it!

It creates internal clarity boosting staff contribution, and set the 'culture' agenda.

For brands to succeed in any sector they must stay focused on a 'relevant to me' mindset.

What this means in simple terms that a company need to obsess about 'why' a consumer should choose to spend time and money with your company over that of another. 

If you can do this persistently then you stand a much better chance of winning out, but remember this is an ongoing fundamental.

When it goes wrong for Retail brands (or any company) it's because they tend to lose sight of the 'why', a simple question with a complex set of answers, and if it goes unanswered leads to erosion of trust, and relevance.

Consumers are a fickle bunch, if you're brand is no longer as relevant as it once was they will go to the next one with whom they 'feel' understands their needs better than you.

In the not too distant past brands were the custodian of how we perceived them, this was primarily driven by brand awareness ad campaigns across all relevant mediums. 

They told us what they stood for and if we 'related' to that message we might be swayed to choose 'Coke over Pepsi', 'Wrangler over Levi's', 'Nike over Reebok', 'BMW over Mercedes'.

The basis of this branding message is still very much the same, but as social media has opened up our ability to do our own research around those 'brand promises' we tend to be swayed moreso by those closest to us.

The thing is that all those unwanted digital intrusions are having a diminishing effect on how we perceive a brand in today's socially savvy world.

Successful brands that know how to cut through the millions (circa 4k-10k per day) of other brand messages we're bombarded with on a daily basis understand the following;

•Adopt a positive position - make it relevant to me!

•Take problem/solution approach - let me know you understand me!

•Be empowering - make me powerful!

Be empathetic, not patronising - treat me with respect, be authentic.

Be celebratory, not evangelistic - it's about me, not you!

Great brands live and breath the brand internally and externally - confused brands, lead to confused customers. They align the entire business behind the brand position.

Brands work on emotions, because people buy from people like themselves –Unless they have no choice.

Or it’s a commodity!

All Brands create a personality, this requires clarity and consistency internally. You earn TRUST, you do not impose it on someone.

This blog came from an article by me on November 1st 2019 and can be found here