How DTC Brands Create Trust through Meaningful Content Experiences
The rise of direct-to-consumer brands (DTC) has brought with it a new branding tool: content. CaaS or Content as a service, is the time when brands can differentiate themselves and make a difference.
Consumers want to be able to trust brands. A recent Edelman survey found that most consumers would rather buy from a trusted brand. According to the survey, 66% of respondents would prefer to stick with their preferred brand over a more technologically advanced competitor. 75% said that trust is more important than fashion.
Consumer trust is the key to consumer loyalty and advocacy. Brands that win trust from consumers are at the top of the list. DTC brands have a greater chance of building trusting relationships due to the emphasis on transparency but they have not yet cracked the consumer trust code. A number of DTC brands have been trying to bridge the gap in consumer trust with experiential content.
What is the difference between traditional and experiential content? Content like blog posts or case studies on a site are inherently branded. This content often promotes the brand’s products and services, whether subtly or otherwise. This content aims to demonstrate brand value.
Experiential content is, however, a fully-formed content experience that is stored separately from other content. This content can be published, microsite, print asset, or podcast. These types of content require higher production levels and more creative insight. These content experiences are not merely about proving the brand’s products or value. This content is aimed at entertaining and educating consumers. This content is not looking to influence but to become a partner. It is a tool to build trust.
Experiential content is designed to show that a consumer can trust a brand. Brands’ well-crafted content experience shows rather than tells why their recommendation is credible.
Dollar Shave Club’s MEL Magazine aims to improve members’ mental and physical well-being
Dollar Shave Club is a DTC brand that delivers customized grooming products to members’ homes. In 2015, launched MEL Magazine . This online lifestyle and culture magazine offers advice from a male perspective and adds to Dollar Shave Club’s brand without being explicitly branded. Members, or customers, receive physical copies of MEL content in their subscription. This adds to the existing readership and organic traffic to the digital magazine.
Michael Dubin, CEO, Dollar Shave Club, views MEL to be a way to “develop deeper connections with its customer base.” Dubin also makes clear that Dollar Shave Club and MEL are distinct entities, even though they both have the same mission. Dubin says that “those two entities” are separate vehicles to accomplish the mission.
Section of MEL Magazine.
It is not just a matter of making monetary donations to Dollar Shave Club; it is also about making philosophical contributions to the well-being of men. This highlights two key content marketing trends that aim at building trust: purpose-driven and value-driven content experiences.
Dollar Shave Club is a brand that cares about its members’ mental and physical well-being. It offers a fully-fledged content experience such as MEL. This is a positive step towards customer loyalty and a good example of how to provide personal value to customers. A recent study found that nearly 63% global consumers would prefer to buy products and services from companies that are consistent with their values and beliefs. They’ll also avoid companies that don’t.
MEL Magazine gives readers the feeling of being seen from the inside. Dollar Shave Club offers members the opportunity to feel confident and seen by others. Ninety-nine percent consumers believe authenticity is essential when choosing brands to support and love. Content experiences such as MEL magazine reflect that sentiment.
Outdoor Voices has launched The Recreationalist in an effort to encourage you to “do things”.
Outdoor Voices, DTC’s activewear brand, has recently launched The Recreationalist, a content hub which inspires customers to do things. The Recreationalist offers city guides, playlists and stories, as well as a limited-run magazine.
Chris Ralston is the Director of Digital Brand Experience at Outdoor Voices. He stated that the team is trying to “become a resource as an entire brand.” This signifies the transition from content being a nice-to-have component to content becoming a crucial brand component. Ralston stated that “doing things” can mean many different things depending on who you are. This allows us to shine a light on how people stay active every day.
The Recreationalist is a content hub that is independent from Outdoor Voices’ content. This fosters trust and a sense community. Ralston stated, “This is an opportunity to us to have that two-way discussion.” “Our community has shown openness to having a dialogue with us, a brand,” Ralston said. Our community has so many interesting things going, and we now have a place for them.
A brand that puts its trust in its community by creating a content experience that is consumer-centric will get the community to reciprocate that trust. The Recreationalist inspires, educates, and entertains its audience. Outdoor Voices can also learn more about the community through the content created there, and then the brand can shape its product roadmap accordingly.
DTC brands depend on regular, creative self expression, because their customer base is built around media like Instagram and Twitter that encourages user-generated material. Outdoor Voices fosters trust among consumers through community-based content such as The Recreationalist. It also fosters brand advocates who become an integral part the brand.
Content experiences are a way to show, not tell, that a brand trusts you.
These hubs are an example of a brand’s response to customer demand for experiential content. Customers want more than a good-looking brand. They want to see a brand that can be trusted.
Digital consumers today won’t be able to remember content that’s not packaged in a tangible experience. Dollar Shave Club, Outdoor Voices and other brands are also catching on. Brands such as H&M’s Itsapark and Casper have created content experiences and communities that connect customers to the brand.
Brands can humanize customers by using an experiential content strategy. Instead of looking at audiences as a mass, brands can see their customers as individuals and tailor their products to address real customer problems. Consumers are looking for authenticity in content experiences. Are your brand’s contents creating a memorable customer experience?