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Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Part I: How legacy brands can drive more direct sales

We’ve been through a collective rites of passage. In early 2020 all our pre-sets were challenged. The structures and influences which shaped and defined our lives were shaken and many taken away from us. We entered a ‘Liminal State’, the old ways were no longer relevant or viable and new ways and habits had yet to be formed. At the start of 2021 people experienced a watershed moment and began creating and incorporating their new behaviours. As the chaos subsided, we began to create new structures (and humans need structure), and these have grown from a new sense of self and embody a new sense of real control for the individual.

For many, the balance of power has fundamentally changed – people are now more acutely aware of who they are, what they need and what they want. The ability of brands to shape people has shifted. A more confident sense of self has emerged. Brands which enable people to embrace and build on this behaviour shift will benefit. And as things begin to normalise, there will, undoubtedly be some slippage back to the old ways/self, but many will actively seek out brands/services which help them stay in their new self.

As a result, people are actively making more tailored choices – more driver, less passenger in their own lives. And one of these choices has been new ways to buy products. What was once the only route through a retailer or department store, now consumers are waking up to the fact that they can buy directly from the brand online. According to a recent Google Survey* 60% of online shoppers would go out of their way to buy directly from a brand and 42% are expecting to buy more directly from brands over the next year. So there is a huge opportunity for brands to influence buying decisions.

These e-commerce websites are a new shop window for consumers, and one of the key advantages that the brand has over the retailer is trust. Consumers can more closely align their values with the brand, they consider them more reliable, and more than two-thirds of online shoppers said that individual brands offered better quality than third-party retailers.

So how can you maximise this opportunity? Your senior stakeholders may be comfortable with your internal values, vision and mission for the business, and selling that proposition into wholesalers to stock your products has been the backbone of your business. But now your marketing objectives need to shift to support the top of the funnel more, to capture consumers attention when they are in discovery mode to support business objectives for 2022.

In an increasingly competitive environment, how do you capture that attention? Through emotive storytelling, that differentiates, disrupts and entertains, and ultimately makes people feel something. Because 95% of our decisions are made by the System 1 brain, the instinctual part of the brain that makes gut decisions. So, if you want people to do something you have to make them feel something. Furthermore, the latest survey proves that consumers are looking for brands that entertain them, with 50% of shoppers saying that they preferred to buy from brands that had an interesting backstory or stood for something specific. So tell the world what you want to be famous for, be consistent with that messaging and be more visible.

We’ve recently helped Sanctuary Spa reposition their consumer offering. Once heavily reliant on the retailers to push their products, we’ve created a campaign for Sanctuary Spa that still sensitively supports the retailers but raises brand salience with the consumer to drive direct sales. The 360 campaign delivers a consistent message across social, OOH, digital, TV and at POP, so that whichever brand touchpoint the consumer chooses to engage with the fame building creative is there to drive memorability and sales. A win win for both the retailer and brand.

At Southpaw, we recognise that human attention is a scarce commodity, that more brands than ever are vying for that attention, and consumer expectations are at an all-time high. So, brands wanting to stand out need to fight their corner with insight, foresight, and creative firepower. We're a strategic creative agency that help challenger brands punch above their weight by using the power of emotion together with our unique neuro-behavioural approach to outmanoeuvre, rather than outspend, the competition.

To find out more about our methodology, and what we can do to grow your brand and sales, please contact laura.wood@southpawagency.com

*Google-commissioned Kelton Global direct-to-consumer (DTC) survey of 3,494 DTC shoppers in the wellness, home, apparel and electronics categories, Oct 2021.

Southpaw Communications Ltd


Southpaw Communications Limited
Creative Advertising Agency
The Warehouse, Hill Street,
Tunbridge Wells,