A DTC BUSINESS GUIDE TO TRANSFORMING A BRAND INTO A COHESIVE IDENTITY
Coming face-to-face with a brand can go one of two ways. The interaction can be an all-encompassing experience of colors, emotions, and personality or flat-out unmemorable. Luckily, direct-to-consumer (DTC or D2C) businesses hold power over every detail throughout the branding process, which leaves no room for dullness.
The Power of DTC
DTC companies avoid the middleman and sell products directly to consumers without the hassle of dealing with retailers or wholesalers. Unlike other e-commerce players, DTC companies can choose how they want their branding to make customers feel down to the design of packaging tape. Fewer participants in the sales funnel equals less conflicting opinions — the DTC companies have all the creative power.
With over 110,000 DTC businesses just in the United States, building a brand that stands out is vital. While visual interest grabs consumers’ attention, a recognizable experience keeps them invested. Elements like logos, typography, and color palettes must match a DTC company’s mission and brand voice to create an experience that results in purchases.
Branding encompasses various visual and verbal communication elements that align with a brand’s mission and values, including logos, typography, imagery, and voice. Each piece should be cohesive in design, enabling the brand to fit into any context, medium, or platform.
Mission Statement and Core Values
DTC businesses must understand that establishing a clear mission and core values is the first step in creating a brand experience. Consumers want to know who a brand is and what it is selling before making any purchase decisions.
Blueland, a DTC cleaning products company, clearly states its mission and values on its website. The brand aims to “make it easy to be eco with innovative products in reusable packaging that are convenient, effective, and affordable.” Paired with a tidy visual identity, consumers know exactly what they support when purchasing from Blueland.
Visual consistency is pleasing; consumers trust and remember a DTC company with cohesive branding across websites, social media, and packaging. According to Superside, “Visual identity is all of the imagery and graphical information that visually communicates what a brand is and what makes it unique.” Multiple elements, such as logos, typography, and color palettes, can assist in crafting a memorable visual experience for consumers.
Logos can range from simple monograms to detailed illustrations but should always enhance the consumer’s experience of a brand. Over time, a designated logo can become culturally iconic. When googling “apple,” the first search engine result is Apple, the technology company, not the expected fruit. This is the perfect example of a logo and brand recognition working cohesively.
From product descriptions to digital ads, typography visually represents the brand’s personality and tone of voice by uniting typefaces and fonts. A typeface is a font family like Helvetica or Times New Roman. A font is the style of the typeface — bold or italic. Similarly to the other elements of visual identity, typography should stay consistent across platforms. Using one to three typefaces of various fonts will preserve aesthetic value and streamline a brand identity.
Within the competitive e-commerce sphere, DTC companies must be memorable visually. Choosing two to three colors to associate with a brand will create a cohesive experience across platforms. A distinct color palette will stick after a few impressions, thus contributing to brand identity.
Graphic Visual Content
In the DTC world, graphic visual content is used for everything from product listings to social media posts. Graphics can help a DTC company communicate details about a product with consumers in an aesthetically pleasing way. Digital ads often require graphic visual content to capture the attention of new customers. Regardless of where and how graphics are used, they should always be high-resolution and match the chosen color palette and typography.
When physical products are involved, creating an enjoyable unboxing experience is the cherry on top of an already memorable customer experience. Cohesive packaging sears a brand into the consumer’s memory. If done correctly, consumers will be eager to post about the product, organically exposing the brand to a receptive audience. Creating an experience by customizing packing tape, boxes, tissue paper, and thank you cards to match any brand is straightforward and rewarding for most DTC brands.
DTC branding is more than what meets the eye. Verbal elements must match the visual elements, resonate with the mission and core values, and entice consumers to buy. Strategic messaging and a compelling voice reinforce brand recognition and enhance the consumer experience.
DTC brands use verbal elements such as social media captions, product descriptions, and website copy to position their products in a way that provokes purchasing. With strategic positioning, brands can make their products appear more alluring to one type of customer. MUD\WTR targets consumers looking to eliminate some caffeine from their morning routine by using copy and messaging revolving around how the product contains less caffeine than coffee.
Consumers should be able to recognize a brand voice, just like they recognize the way their best friend sends a text message. DTC companies establish a recognizable brand voice by using consistent emotion, writing style, and tone. Every time brands post, create an ad, or publish a new product, their voice should be the same. How brands formulate their voice will enhance their mission and help them stand out against competitors.