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Top 5 Creative Trends for DTC Brands

Jose Sanchez Apr 27 2021 1 PM | 4 min read

“To achieve the next level of growth, I would suggest DTC brands not to abandon the growth-hacking that got them off the ground, but rather learn how to be even more effective brand-builders across channels.” says Aaron Fetters, Head of Client Development at @Truth{Set}. 

Tapping into brand equity offers a myriad of opportunities for DTC brands that have a strong foundation for performance marketing. 

At Smartly.io, we always think full-funnel first when taking on a new creative project. Our Creative Services team has honed their process that involves data-driven ideation, execution, and iteration for each step of the funnel. Depending on the project scope, the insights we use are based on past campaign performance, market research, competitor analysis, and consumer behavior trends. We also tap into cognitive biases to understand what influences people to choose one product over another while shopping online.

The process gives us a good overview of relevant trends for each customer and how we can translate them into ads for digital campaigns. 

We work with a number of DTC brands, and we have seen how they have done a fantastic job connecting with their audience by finding their unique voice in a space with a lot of noise and competition.

How to create ads that build a brand and drive performance?

We help brands like Thirdlove and Trendyol unlock the next level of growth by producing brand-building creatives - ads that are beautiful, effective, and perform in the long term. In our work with DTC companies, we have discovered the following trends:

1. Sell a lifestyle, not a product

If you look at competitors within the same DTC product line, the market can feel saturated with brands offering a different version of an already existing product. 

Instead of being “just another DTC company,” brands should position themselves as their industry leader with a clearly differentiated product and recognizable brand. To do so, diversify your content and media - maybe start a podcast, publish a digital magazine - and create a digital advertising strategy with ads that highlight the product benefits and differentiate your offering from your competitors.

2. Explore your fluent device

According to System1, Fluent Devices are "characters or scenarios that repeat across ads, driving the creative each time. They're one of the most powerful tactics available to a brand." The DTC brands we work with connect with their audiences by finding their unique tone of voice and embracing it through different social channels.

By giving their brand a personality and identifying their fluent devices, these companies engage in conversations with their users from a very relatable and human point of view, which helps them bring the product closer to their audiences. 

As recent work from the IPA shows, "Fluent Devices can be a terrific way of giving your brand some long-term presence" while improving the grounds for short-term goals.

3. Experts as influencers

Doctors, psychologists, and physiotherapists are going viral on platforms like Tiktok or Instagram. The new type of experts as influencers helps brands deliver highly engaging and informative content to their audiences. 

We believe that this type of content works particularly well as people have a tendency to trust the opinion of an authority figure, and thus, be more influenced by that opinion. By providing an authority figure, brands help their audience navigate the landscape and choose their product and trust their brand over the competitors’. 

4. Using the product and highlighting pain points and solutions

A significant number of DTC video ads show live-action footage of a person using the product with simple overlays on top. Effective overlays often contain offers, product benefits or features, simple questions, problem-solution pairs, or brand statements.

5. Mix Product and Lifestyle Imagery

We’ve found that most brands have both ‘Product’ and ‘Lifestyle’ imagery among their top-performing ads. Based on this, we hypothesized that both should be included in the creative mix for optimal performance. The variety in creatives allows us to reach more audience segments and helps the business grow with a larger pool of audiences - this seems to hold for retargeting as well.

If you need help in taking your creative strategy to the next level, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

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Author
Jose Sanchez

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