Your key to surviving the Brandemic? Adopting a D2C mentality!

It’s been a year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world as we know it, and at this point our “new normal” has simply become our “normal”. Flexibility is critical to accommodate what seems like constantly changing circumstances – for both consumers AND brands. Unfortunately, an inability to be nimble has lead to the demise of many brands, sparking another kind of pandemic..

A “brandemic”.

Consumers’ needs and expectations have been on a wild rollercoaster laden with twists and turns and brands have no choice but to hold on tight and ride along with them (socially distanced, of course). It’s not necessarily a fun ride, but isn’t it better to scream through the terrifying drops and loops with a buddy?

We’ve now had a whole year to figure out what brands can and should do to avoid becoming another victim of the brandemic, and for the most part, it really starts with two steps: go digital and go direct. With digital usage up and competition for consumers’ attention at an all-time high, adopting a direct-to-consumer (D2C) mentality is key to laying the groundwork for success in a seemingly unpredictable future.

Having a D2C mindset benefits consumers and brands alike. Not only does it allow brands to ensure they’re reaching the right audience and foster better connections with them, but by controlling the buying process from start-to-finish, brands can get a clearer understanding of their consumers’ needs and expectations. And alas, you’re buckled in for that wild rollercoaster ride together.

If DTC is a foreign concept to your brand, don’t fret! Thankfully we live in 2021 and there’s almost no doubt that the consumers you’re trying to reach are on the World Wide Web. You just need to find where they are and guide them to where you want them to be: their social media feeds, their inbox, and – ultimately – your website.

Brandemic Tip #1: Get Social with Your Consumers

It’s a no-brainer that your brand should be utilizing social media to connect with your consumers during the brandemic. And always. Which platform(s) you use will obviously vary based on your target audience, but when 79% of the US population uses social media, odds are the people you want to reach are there.

In a time where we’re feeling quite a bit out-of-touch with each other, social media has come to the rescue and given brands a space to communicate directly with their consumers. Brands have been able to build entire communities through organic engagement simply because they’ve shown empathy for their consumers and genuinely want to have an authentic connection with and among their audience. Think of other brands that you truly enjoy following – wouldn’t you consider yourself a part of their community? And doesn’t that make you feel more loyal to that brand?

Having a social space for consumers to go to with questions, comments, and concerns is just one step in the DTC strategy. Ultimately, you need them to take the next step toward purchasing the goods or services your brand provides, so frequently use calls to action that drive to your website or email list registration to keep your best consumers in a funnel. Follows and likes are great but your business relies on having a strategy in place to convert those numbers into dollars!

Brandemic Tip #2: Keep in Touch in their Inbox

A new deal starts today. A popular item is back in stock. Registration for a virtual event opens soon. They have questions and you have answers. You have questions and they have answers…

There are a million and one things brands need their consumers to know about, but consumers aren’t mind readers! It’s the brand’s responsibility to communicate that information directly to their consumers. That’s why email marketing is pivotal in D2C marketing.

But how do you stand out from the crowd during this brandemic time, when other brands are also flooding your contacts’ inboxes?

The simple answer is: make every email count.

Each broadcast your brand sends should have an eye-catching subject line (so they open it), a simple and appealing message (so they read it), and a clear objective (so they do something about it).

But remember, we can all get easily distracted and forget what we were just in the middle of doing. Your customers are no different. Tune up your customer journey game!

Review all of your automated emails – from welcome offers to abandoned cart to “hey, we saw you looking this – here’s some other stuff you might like.” Look at the emails through brandemic eyes…are they quick and impactful, easy to ingest on a phone (where we all live these days)? Is the messaging appropriate for today? Are you thinking of new ways to be helpful? Reminders can be very much appreciated, and it shows that your brand cares that your customer has a good experience with you (seriously – even a seemingly simple welcome email is 4 times more likely to be opened than a business-as-usual marketing email).

Brandemic Tip #3: Welcome Consumers to Your Home(page)

In today’s digital world, your website is your brand’s home base. It should house everything anyone could ever need from your brand, but require minimal effort from the consumer to use. It’s a big ask, but it is what it is – nobody has the time or patience to go digging for a particular product or piece of information anymore.

Always be looking at your site with the eyes of someone visiting it for the first time – and during the circumstances of the current time.  Keep your site navigation simple, with the most important and commonly used pages just a quick click away, or even on your homepage if appropriate. Include a search tool. Add a chat feature or at least make your customer service contact information particularly easy to find. Visitors should never feel lost, because they’ll just go somewhere else.

In addition to functionality, the website’s design needs to be pleasing to your target audience and LOOK like your brand. From one glance, a site visitor who came from your brand’s social media page or marketing email should be able to confidently go “Yup, I’m in the right place!” – and they should ENJOY being there. In fact, it only takes about .05 seconds for visitors to form an opinion about your brand’s website, so their first impression better be a good one. (Rough crowd, we know…so consider saying goodbye to tricky features that increase loading times. While it’s your website, the visit is all about what works best for them.)

Don’t Just Survive the Brandemic. Thrive Through It.

Trying to keep up with your consumers’ needs and expectations can be exhausting – and may feel flat-out impossible these days. But by focusing on a D2C mentality, your brand will be able to learn invaluable information about your audience that will help you get two steps ahead of them. Or at least one. You’ll be in a position to provide them with what they need before they even know they need it, making your brand not only loved by your consumers, but indispensible to them.

Ready to approach your digital strategy with a D2C mentality? The S3 Agency is already on this wild rollercoaster ride with some of the world’s greatest brands – we’re just waiting for you to hop in!