Are you looking to take your D2C marketing to the next level of awesome? We asked Mason’s Director of Creative, Shannon Gallaher to share her best tips for emerging direct-to-consumer brands. She spoke about the importance of brand identity and meeting your customers where they are with your brand.

#1 Tip for Emerging Brands: Develop Brand Identity

“It’s so important to build a strong brand identity early on, and stick to it. Be strict about it. There’s a common misconception that branding and creative is only about designing ‘pretty’ graphics and a professional logo. In reality, there’s a much deeper strategy behind it all, Shannon says, “Your brand identity goes beyond your color palette and font families— consider your tone of voice; the way you speak to your audience, your values as a company and what you stand for, the look and feel of your product and lifestyle photography, and really get to know your audience personas.” 

When you build the identity for your D2C brand, ask yourself questions like: What words describe the look and feel of my brand? What important social issues does my brand confront? Is my creative inclusive? What type of content speaks to my audiences? 

How do you create a recognizable direct-to-consumer brand identity? 

“There’s an ongoing list of building blocks that make up a strong brand, but you can start with the visuals. Once you have a professionally designed logo, chances are you’ve chosen a color or two for your brand. Make sure you’ve thoughtfully selected a distinct color palette, made up of 2 dominant and 3-4 accent colors.

It’s also important to select your brand fonts. To start, you’ll want a primary font and secondary font. At least one of these should be the font in your logo” Shannon shares, “Having a well packaged brand means that people recognize your brand without realizing the brand name. For example, if I was driving on the highway and saw a Dunkin Donuts billboard, I’d recognize the brand just from seeing the colors from the corner of my eye. I wouldn’t need to stop to read it. And just like that, I’m craving an iced coffee!”

Get to Know Your Audience

Let’s take a deeper look at the audience personas. Shannon recommends identifying 2-3 key audiences and creating a persona around each. From there, you can work to determine what type of creative resonates with each persona.

For example, say you’re selling organic soup. Your first target audience is “parents of young children.” If it’s available, use analytics from your social media accounts to gather more information about this target audience, or just brainstorm what that audience’s interests and behaviors look like. Maybe this audience is interested in nutrient rich foods for their children and tends to shop at natural grocers. Maybe your Persona B is a yogi student interested in clean living and sustainability.

These two personas will be attracted to different types of creative. What resonates with audience A doesn’t necessarily resonate with audience B. A parent of young children will be drawn to creative that talks about natural ingredients, nutrients and benefits for children. Your yogi, however, wants to see facts about sustainability and how you’re doing good for the earth. 

An example of a top of the funnel acquisition video for a client, 80 Acres Farms. We thought of several reasons why a broad audience would be motivated to purchase this product, and spoke to several of those motivators in a single video:

For remarketing, or lower in the funnel, we are showing the same audience a review GIF to get them “over the fence” with some social proof:

Always Think About the Customer Journey

A robust creative strategy goes deeper than audience personas. It’s centered around the customer journey. Always ask yourself ”Is this creative going to resonate with this audience while they’re at this stage of the journey with my brand?” Shannon recommends refreshing and customizing your creative as the customer moves down the funnel. “You’ll want to educate customers about your brand and products when they’re at the top of the funnel. This helps you hook them to your brand and builds ethos. For customers at the bottom of the funnel, promotion-driven creative will perform better”, she says. 

What’s Trending in Creative this Summer?

TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts have changed the way we respond to content. Majority of the content we consume today is created by real people, and gets to the point quicker than ever. When we see ads on social feeds, we tend to skip them. Shannon challenges brands to create ads that don’t look like ads. This way, people will view your ad before they realize it’s an ad. “While having professional, high quality video that supports your brand is important, that’s not always what will perform best. Try recording yourself or someone from your team talking about your products, add captions, and publish! Your users want to buy products that are used by people like them, not by perfect, scripted models. That’s why TikTok style video ads work so well”, she states.

Most importantly, have fun with your brand! “It’s great to see brands get creative with social media real estate. I’m seeing brands use carousels on Instagram and Facebook to educate their audience. It’s like a “mini pitch deck” that provides information without the audience having to click to a landing page,” Shannon shares her last tip for emerging direct to consumer brands. 

Are you ready to put these tips into action? We recommend working with a creative professional to develop your brand identity. Contact us today to talk with our experts. 

Mira Valjakka

Author Mira Valjakka

Mira is a Director of Growth & Marketing at Mason Interactive. She's a big believer in content marketing, well-executed design, and marketing technologies that improve efficiencies.

More posts by Mira Valjakka