There are more brands now than ever and it’s never been easier to start selling to the masses. Whether it’s a side hustle, monetizing your audience, or a brand new niche product; you can get your product made, put up an online store, drop marketing dollars and you’re in business!
There are an estimated 22,000 direct to consumer brands in North America and those are just the real businesses. Add in influencers selling swag and entrepreneurs just starting and it’s no surprise that eCommerce is now over $5T and growing fast while social media selling is projected to hit $1.2T by 2025 according to Accenture. That’s a “T” for Trillion.
Most Brands Will Fail
That’s a whole lot of people selling, so many products and channels. Yes, it’s easier than ever to sell stuff but it’s harder than ever to stand out and succeed.
You can’t scroll Instagram or Google something and not discover a brand you’ve never heard of before. Some of these are multi-million dollar businesses backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital. But you’ve either:
- Never heard of them
- Know the brand and might visit when they pop up in your feed then bounce
All of these brands fight for attention and wallet share, some get to $10M+ but not many cross that chasm to $100M+ and even fewer achieve mainstream mindshare.
Apple, Starbucks, Nike, LuluLemon...every origin story starts somewhere and every mid-market brand aspires to become as iconic as these leaders. But off the top of your head, how many brands do you consider a part of your lifestyle? Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Breaking out of the pack doesn't happen by accident. Capturing the passion of consumers doesn't happen just waiting on your ads to convert or an influencer saying you’re the greatest thing since the last greatest thing.
To grow in hyper mode, and earn what I'm coining Super Brand status you need to be chosen. You need to earn love. Brands that blend commerce with content have unlocked consumer passion and massive growth to become iconic Super Brands; follow the 3C strategy and your brand could be next.
Super Brands: The 3C's of Brand Growth
In 2004 Kevin Roberts wrote Lovemarks: the future beyond brands in which Roberts described how successful brands separate from the pack; they’ve gained our love, trust, and affection. It’s brand loyalty on steroids. Apple’s famous “I’m a Mac” campaign played on our human psychology and asked us to choose a side, creating the fanboy phenomenon…people loved Apple so much they got tattoos…and drove unparalleled evangelism and growth. We all have brands we’ve chosen to be part of our lifestyle and these are your Super Brands.
In our age of unparalleled consumer access and brand reach, the barriers for a brand to define a shared lifestyle narrative and execute a Super Brand strategy is lower than ever.
My new Super Brand is Boxraw.
I’m a lifelong boxing fan (and still aspiring World Champion in my own mind). I love the sport, the history, training and camaraderie in the gym. There’s a lot of brands in the boxing world so why Boxraw?
The 3C Growth Strategy to becoming a Super Brand is something I’ve been discussing with many brands we work with at Shopistry, have seen play out successfully over decades, and it never fails to deliver. So, I gave it a name and here’s how it works.
Commerce + Content + Community = Growth
1 - Commerce: You need a good product that provides value to your target consumers. If your products suck, nothing else matters.
2 - Content: If the only time you’re engaging your audience is shilling products than the relationship won’t last long. Building continual engagement through content around shared values, entertainment and what your consumers care about keeps the connection strong between sales.
3 - Community: With great products and content, you’ve got the basis for a brand community that acts as a catalyst for evangelism, advocacy and growth.
Over the holidays I bought new gear from Boxraw and then a week later I spent an hour on Boxraw.com and I didn’t buy anything but my friends did. It all started with this email about famous fights and, after enjoying that content, I enjoyed more on their site, socials, and shared with friends.
- Increased engagement
- Net-new site traffic
- Increased product discovery
- Genuine consumer evangelism
- Net-new customers
- More sales (two friends made purchases)
How to Grow the Love
1 - Drive engagement to Brand-owned properties
Yes, you need to be active and grow on social media because that’s where your audience is but conversion is hard. TikTok, Instagram, YouTube…everyone is turning on commerce capabilities and although shopping on these channels will continue to grow, consumer behavior is focused on media consumption vs. conversion.
Nothing replaces the control you have to create brand experiences people will love on your brand’s own properties.
Reebok created the Crossfit community, Nike engages the running world, Oura Ring delivers a content hub where we can all track to be our best self. All of these experiences are promoted on social media but enjoyed on brand-owned experiences driving all of the same growth metrics in the Boxraw example above.
The goal is to create that experience and drive almost automated engagement. Brands need to think about more than a blog.
2 - Create a Brand Engagement Flywheel
Most brands think “content on my site = blog”. There’s nothing wrong with a great blog but it takes time and effort to write something compelling and let’s face it, videos eat reading for almost everyone.
There are so many verticals that can give consumers an awesome content-driven community that mixes entertainment, inspiration, knowledge, and more:
- Health = Fitness and nutrition tips, videos, inspiration
- Food = Recipes
- Pets = Funny videos mixed with product calls to action
- Appliances = BBQ grilling videos
The list goes on, it just takes a bit of creative thinking into how you can be a more valuable part of your consumer’s lifestyle.
Shopistry recently launched a new feature called SocialHub to make it even easier for brands to leverage content to drive growth.
With SocialHub brands can:
a) Easily create a content-based community, brand TV page, or shoppable social landing page leveraging owned, influencer, and UGC videos and images
b) Automatically gain new site pages, auto-created for each content post which grows SEO
c) Share and promote content back to social channels, email campaigns, etc. through an auto-created share link
By making it simple to launch an experience that fits with consumer media consumption habits, automating pages and sharing, and leveraging social behavior, brands drive a flywheel of brand discovery, engagement, traffic, evangelism and conversion.
It’s simple yet powerful and one more tool in your arsenal, saving time and driving results. The ROI on this is pretty awesome.
3 - Strike a balance
If you’re growing a DTC brand you need a maniacal focus on the 3Cs while also not overwhelming your audience. Everyone loves a friend that shares but we also all enjoy our space. Striking that balance in your brand friendship is key.
$100M and Beyond
Make no mistake, becoming a brand people love isn’t easy but it’s more possible than ever and it’s how you break out in a crowded field. Chances are you built a brand for people like yourself. Think about how you’d like to be engaged as a consumer; what would make your consumer-self accept your own brand as a Super Brand.
I’d love to read your comments and if you’d like to hear more about how Shopistry is helping brands grow drop me a line or get in touch. l'd happy to share lessons learned, help navigate your path forward, and accelerate your goals.