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Audience Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Market Intelligence Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

As a consumer insights agency, we employ a number of quantitative and qualitative research methods to help our clients make data-driven decisions. We find that DTC and CPG brands often fail to spend much time researching product pricing. These businesses generally fall into two camps: 

  • Some companies want to set prices very low to beat the competition. This strategy often backfires because consumers may think a too-low-to-be-true price signals poor quality. Sometimes, low prices may encourage lots of sales, but they might not generate enough revenue to offset costs and sustain business growth. 
  • Prices set too high may discourage consumers who don’t believe the product’s value justifies the cost. That’s particularly true if consumers can easily find the same or similar products elsewhere. 

How to use the Van Westendorp Index to find the right price 

For our work as a quantitative marketing research agency, we often organize surveys or focus groups to gather useful data for setting prices. One of the marketing research techniques we rely on, the Van Westendorp Index, narrows down the price customers would willingly pay to a range. 

Also called the Price Sensitivity Model, the Van Westendorp Index starts with a set of four survey questions

  • Which low price might make you question the product’s quality?
  • Which price would make you consider the product a bargain?
  • Which higher price might make it begin to appear expensive?
  • Which higher price would discourage you from buying because of the cost?

Conjoint.ly develops analysis tools for marketing research. According to the Conjoint.ly blog, samples should include a minimum of 200 survey takers. That helps ensure statistically significant results. Ideally, marketers should either survey current customers or members of the likely target market. Consumers who would actually consider buying the product can offer better answers than random people. 

To analyze the data: 

  • Plot the answers for each question on a graph. 
  • Marketing research analysts refer to the intersection of the “question quality” and “too expensive” lines as the optimum price point, or OPP. 
  • Test the OPP and values around it to derive the real-world optimum price. 

Example of employing the Van Westendorp Model for Luma & Leaf 

luma and leaf products

We served as a consumer marketing agency for Luma & Leaf, a DTC natural skincare brand. We employed qualitative and quantitative research techniques to find answers to a range of questions, including packaging, brand messaging, and introductory price points. 

Luma & Leaf manufactures products with high-quality, clean, and sustainably sourced ingredients. After completing the surveys and analysis, the company successfully positioned itself as a mid-level skincare brand. Their product’s quality and prices appeal to consumers who would pay somewhat more for quality but still would not budget for the most expensive brands. 

The company could differentiate its products from cheap drugstore brands because of the sustainability, purity, and quality of ingredients, so consumers would pay somewhat more. At the same time, they set prices much lower than luxury brands to ensure they didn’t price themselves out of their target market. 

Benefits of the Van Westendorp Pricing Model

Rebecca Sadwick works as a consultant for businesses about growth strategies. According to Ms. Sadwick, marketers used to introduce a product and ask customers how much they would pay for it. This method never worked well because: 

  • Studies found that survey takers tended to offer low-ball answers as if they wanted to bargain with the business for a better deal. 
  • Also, many people taking surveys can’t answer the question well because they don’t actually have skin in the game—emotion factors into most buying decisions. 

The indirect series of questions about prices tend to produce better answers. Nobody can say exactly how much they will pay for a product at some point in the future. In fact, most shoppers would probably have a range of prices in mind and not one specific price. Survey takers can do a better job of estimating which price points they would find too-good-to-be-true, great deals, and prohibitively expensive.

How should companies use the Van Westendorp Model to set prices?

Even when a consumer insights agency offers a better way to estimate optimum price points by using the Van Westendorp Model, businesses should still test prices to find the real-world optimum. As with the example of Luma & Leaf, marketers should also understand the reasons for specific prices, such as the advantages the product offers over cheaper competitors. 

Mostly, eCommerce businesses need to set prices high enough to earn revenues that will cover costs and return a decent profit but not so high that they discourage their target market. Marketers can use this kind of quantitative analysis when it’s time to set prices. Ideally, they will also conduct surveys while they’re still planning the product to ensure their sales will support business goals.

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Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Website Development

As a Shopify development agency, we develop and enhance Shopify eCommerce stores for our DTC clients. Plugins give us an efficient way to customize our clients’ experiences and those of their customers. This customization translates into increased revenue and efficiency, equaling greater profits.

Shopify plugins make it easy for us to fully customize eCommerce websites for our clients, depending on their specific needs. They also give us the tools we need to easily implement new features that keep customers engaged with the brands. No matter what solution we’re searching for, we can typically find an app that does exactly what we need it to, which in turn cuts down the development time.”

Jenna Radomsky, Bigeye Digital Project Manager

Five essential Shopify plugins for eCommerce stores

Thousands of plugins can integrate with Shopify. That offers store owners plenty of choices. On the other hand, new eCommerce store builders may feel somewhat overwhelmed by all of the options.

Our eCommerce marketing agency gained experience with dozens of Shopify plugins to serve the unique needs of an array of clients. While our clients offer a variety of products and business models, they all have common goals of increasing profits, improving efficiency, and earning more profit.

We find ourselves frequently returning to many of the same trusted plugins to help clients meet their goals. That’s why we commonly suggest a handful of plugins to almost everybody.

Enjoy a brief introduction to our top five eCommerce plugins for DTC Shopify sites:

Klayvio

This email-collection plugin helps build subscription lists. In turn, eCommerce sites can send messages with order updates, upcoming sales, and new product announcements.

Klayvio allows audience segmentation and works with text messaging and email. For instance, it could send out a message through text or email about a sale on end tables to customers who have recently purchased a sofa.

Sales Motivator

What shopper doesn’t love free gifts? What marketing manager wouldn’t appreciate increasing customer order value?

With this plugin, eCommerce sites can encourage larger sales by offering free gifts based upon the total value of purchases in a shopping cart. Users can also select free gifts to enhance specific product purchases. For example, a shoe store might offer a free package of socks or upgraded shoelaces with the purchase of new running shoes.

Yotpo

Today’s customers look for user reviews to help with purchasing decisions. Yotpo can collect and display user reviews with images. Shopify recommends adding reviews to product pages because almost 95 percent of their own customers read them before buying.

Both buyers and search engines appreciate this kind of high-quality content. Plus, Yotpo lets website managers organize the reviews into attractive galleries that can add a social media experience to an eCommerce site.

PayWhirl

Paywhirl gives eCommerce sites the ability to offer more purchasing options. Some examples include payment plans, subscriptions, and pre-orders. Offering customers more flexibility provides a competitive edge over competitors that neglect to give customers options.

For instance, BusinessWire recently reported that subscription revenues have increased over 400 percent in the past decade. According to surveys, customers like subscriptions that help them save money and provide them with convenience.

ShipStation

If customers only sell on Shopify or also accept orders from other channels, ShipStation keeps shipping organized and ensures customers and customer service can view their tracking codes. Some highlights of ShipStation features include:

  • The plugin can import orders from multiple channels, like Shopify, Amazon, or even a CRM.
  • Automation and scan-based workflows manage orders to ensure timely fulfillment.
  • The software can compare rates from various carriers and then print labels one at a time or in batches.
  • After the order ships, ShipStation sends tracking info to sales channels and customers.

Why consider these five Shopify plugins for a DTC eCommerce site?

As a DTC marketing agency, we do more than consult with our clients about external advertising and marketing. While site promotion matters, it can only bring people to the eCommerce site. The experience an eCommerce site offers visitors will close sales.

Besides making business sites more useful for customers, these plugins also make sales management more efficient. As sales increase, a more efficient website will help widen profit margins even more.

As a Shopify development agency, we work hard to design eCommerce sites that generate more revenue and lower operating costs. That’s how we bring value to clients and why they return to us as often as we return to these trusted plugins.

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Creative & Production Insights

Even as an experienced brand marketing agency, we still suffer from nightmares of designing a logo so scary that it frightens away customers. Still, we make it a habit to study both wizards and trolls in order to benefit from experience and broaden our perspective.

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In the spirit of the Halloween season, we like to have a little fun looking at some gruesome logo mistakes. At the same time, we’re engaged in the very serious business of helping our clients build their brands. 

Frightful logo mistakes

Learn from these horror stories of bad logos to avoid summoning any monstrous creations.

Pre-2015 Verizon

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John McWade of Design Talk commented on Verizon’s 2010 logo by saying it contained one checkmark too many.

Less generous designers called it the “all-time worst logo” because of that same oversized checkmark that Mr. McWade commented on. The checkmark distracted attention from the brand and gave it an unwieldy shape.

In 2015, Verizon made the wise decision to release a new logo, developed by Pentagram, a design powerhouse. The redesign reduced the size of the checkmark and moved it to the right of the company name, making the overall graphic less awkward.

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In October of 2010, Gap replaced the well-known blue square with their brand inside with a logo that emphasized the brand name and had a small, blue spare intersecting GAP’s P. Customers hated it so much that the brand rapidly reverted to the original version within two weeks.

Gap learned that customers cared more about the brand’s image than even the company imagined. It’s a scary lesson, but at least the company learned that their customers felt invested. In 2016, they kept the brand in the logo, but they took away the blue square without facing backlash. This story emphasizes the importance of crowdsourcing opinions about a brand redesign for an established company.

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Some reviewers of the NYC Taxi logo’s redesign called it a “Frankenstein,” so it certainly fits in well with a list of monstrous redesigns. The MTA isolated the T in TAXI and enclosed it in a black circle, surrounded by NYC on the left and “AXI” on the right.

They actually based the redesign upon a logical desire to avoid confusing the taxis with a subway route designated by a T. The problem centers on people’s first question when they see the new logo: “What is an AXI?”

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In 2016, Uber’s new logo replaced the “U” for Uber with a character that looks like the mirror image of a C. The company called it a bit, and maybe they meant to represent the digital nature of their business. In time, they prudently reanimated their logo by using their brand’s wordmark.

2012 London Olympic Games

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Host countries create logos to help represent their game’s unique brand identity. In the best cases, the logo represents both the games and the host city. The jarring image from London in 2012 looked more like a psychedelic trip to Berkeley in 1968.

They meant to produce a hip, modern image, but it simply looks jarring and out of place. The design appears chaotic, it doesn’t represent London well, and apparently, almost 50,000 London residents signed a petition to have it changed.

Design rules to keep logo redesigns from turning into slasher movies

As an experienced brand identity agency, we follow some simple rules to develop logos that offer our clients treats and no tricks. We know businesses seek us out to enforce a positive brand identity and not to frighten off customers or generate poor press. In particular, no company wants to invest in a new logo only to have to reanimate their old logo after several days, as Gap did in 2010.

With these rules in mind, avoid generating frightful logos:

  • People should see the logo and immediately understand what it represents.
  • Simple designs avoid distractions and help clarify the message.
  • Avoid awkward designs that make it difficult to place the logo on various media, like banners, packages, and business cards.
  • Use relevant and instantly recognizable symbols.
  • Look at other company’s logos to understand why they work or why they failed, but don’t copy them. Businesses need to build a strong brand identity and never have their logo confused with the branding of another company.

Established companies might also consider passing design ideas by a crowdsourced group of loyal customers. New brands can set up survey groups in their target market to find out how their future customers will react. As an Orlando marketing agency, we know that customers might not always be right, but what they think always matters.

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Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

According to a recent BigCommerce analysis, product description pages stand out as the most critical parts of an eCommerce website. They emphasized the fact that designers need to consider their product pages from multiple perspectives: 

  • Potential customers visit product pages to make buying decisions. Most importantly, the page’s content and design should offer visitors the information they need to click the “Buy” button. 
  • Many visitors might arrive at these pages directly from search engines, advertisements, and social posts. These prospects might not have ever seen the site’s homepage. In that case, the page needs to function as a landing page and an introduction to the seller. 
  • The page must also communicate its purpose to the search engine, ad platform, and social media algorithms to increase traffic. SEO represents a critical element of the product page. 

Thus, crafting a good eCommerce, Amazon, or Shopify product page design takes some skill. To get started or improve conversions on existing product pages, consider some eCommerce marketing agency do’s and don’ts for product page design. 

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eCommerce Marketing Agency Tips for Product Page Design

Craft product pages well to increase website traffic and sales. Develop these important pages poorly, and conversions and even search engine traffic will suffer. 

The Do’s of Product Description Pages for DTC Marketing 

These tips should provide rapid improvement in traffic and conversions: 

1.Include customization options with descriptions 

Don’t force customers to navigate away from the page to find the color or size product they want to buy. Fewer clicks almost always translate into higher conversions. Use selection boxes or checkboxes to save space. Ideally, design the so choosing different options will also display images to match the selection. 

2. Display customer reviews 

Online customers almost automatically check for reviews before they risk their money with a new brand. Shoppers want to know how other customers felt about their purchase. Make reviews easy to find.

For one example, FigLeaves sells women’s clothing. According to Neil Patel, adding reviews to product pages increased conversions by 35 percent. 

3. Showcase competitive differentiators 

Searching online makes it easy for customers to find competing brands. Emphasize features for the product or site that make it a better choice than competitors. 

As an example, Neil Patel highlighted a product called a SuperSnorkel. This new type of snorkel retails for considerably more than typical snorkels. The product description lets customers know that the improved product allows breathing through their nose or mouth. Also, the lens doesn’t fog up and offers a 180-degree view. Shoppers can easily see the benefits of buying this product over cheaper alternatives.

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Some products might not offer marketers the luxury of providing so many benefits over competitors. As an example, one set of cotton pillowcases might closely resemble another. In that case, high-quality images, various color and size options, and the store’s return and shipping policies may need to work harder to stand out. This also offers marketers a chance to highlight better or more eco-friendly packaging as an advantage.

4. Spell out and update return and shipping policies 

Shopify published a study by the Baymard Institute that found extra fees at checkout, including shipping costs, account for over half of abandoned shopping carts. Besides shipping costs, spell out shipping and return policies on the page to reduce customer support issues. 

Remember that customer-friendly shipping and return policies can help improve conversions, but surprising customers later with unfavorable policies won’t help. A European eCommerce site for watches called Harloges improved conversions by 41 percent and average sales by six percent when they added their return guarantee to a banner above each product description. 

5. Add Multiple Product Images For Various Angles and Options 

For example, customers will want to see what a futon or sleeper sofa looks like when it’s folded up or folded out. Some may want to see the back of the sofa as well as the front. If the clothes, furniture, or decor come in different colors, provide high-quality photos of those too. Include other objects or people in the image to help improve visitors’ perspective of size, fit, and what the product might look like when they use it. 

The Don’ts of Product Pages for Effective D2C Marketing 

Just as an Amazon or Shopify marketing agency should ensure they include all the right things, they will also strive to avoid common mistakes. 

1.Focus on too many CTAs

Product pages should help build trust, provide an introduction to a company, and help with search engine optimization. Still, the product page must center around its primary job of selling the product. 

Just as product pages stand out as the most crucial part of an eCommerce site, nobody should underestimate the importance of the “Buy” or “Add to Cart” button on the product page. 

For instance, Nature Air increased conversions by almost 600 percent after they made the CTA stand out more and added it right next to relevant content. 

While page designers should emphasize the product’s CTA, they should resist adding additional calls to action on the page. Keep the customer focused on the sale and worry about enticing them to join a subscription list or anything else after committing to the sale. 

2. Don’t compose wordy or hard-to-read descriptions 

Crafting product descriptions takes some skill. The text descriptions should include information to satisfy shoppers but not appear wordy or as an unreadable wall of text.

The Shopify blog even mentioned that their customers frequently struggle to find the perfect balance between wordiness and completeness on description pages. An eCommerce strategy professional provided these suggestions for a Shopify product page design: 

  • Include essential details but otherwise, keep descriptions as short as possible. 
  • Use headings, bullet points, and paragraph breaks to keep the text readable. 
  • Supply photos, videos, or other media that can provide more information and appeal to more people. 
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3. Never forget to optimize product pages for search engines 

Perform keyword research and brainstorming to gather the sorts of queries that customers might use to find products. Include the most important and popular keywords and phrases in titles, headings, text, and image captions. 

Gather Data and Test for the Best Results 

Great product pages start with a good understanding of customers. An eCommerce marketing agency might use surveys, marketing research, and A/B tests to determine how to tweak product pages for the best results. As demonstrated by the examples, some seemingly minor changes can yield significant increases in traffic and conversions.

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Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

Pew Research classified people born between 1997 and 2012 as members of Generation Z. Some definitions of this generation vary by a year or two, but this one appears common. Mostly, marketers have only begun to consider the distinct values and buying habits of these young people, and some still lump them in with Millennials.

Of course, it also seems like marketers only clarified the retail marketing differences needed to satisfy Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer shopping habits fairly recently. Perhaps that’s not surprising because just five years ago, Millennials surpassed Boomers as the largest population in the workforce.

Still, many members of Gen Z already have jobs, credit cards, influence, and their own strong preferences as consumers. In order for a DTC marketing agency to attract the attention, good will, and business of these 67 million young Americans, they need to study what these teens and young adults care about and how they like to shop.

Retail marketing must communicate shared values with Gen Z

Experiences formed common attitudes that members of the younger generation share. For instance:

  • Gen Z was born and raised in the shadow of 9/11, The Great Recession, the exponential increase in billionaire wealth vs. worker pay, climate change, the student loan crisis, and most recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
  • They’re digital natives, ethnically diverse, and understandably somewhat mistrustful of big business and authority.

Perhaps because of these experiences and outlooks, they try to use their pocketbooks and influence to support companies they approve of.

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist, observed his own Baby Boomer generation could satisfy their social responsibility commitments by making a few charitable donations each year. He added that Gen Z wants to do business with companies that incorporate social responsibility into every aspect of their business. Younger people want to buy from companies that take good care of their communities, customers, suppliers, and employees, besides contribute to the greater good. 

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Gen Z appreciates pre-worn fashion

Just as Gen Z prefers companies that build social responsibility into their business model, they envision entire economies operating the same way. As an example, the idea of a circular economy inspires young people.

This means focusing upon reusing and recycling products to reduce waste and reduce costs. They care about sustainability to help the environment but also hope to maximize value.

Some examples of online apps that help people participate in this kind of circular economy include Poshmark and Depop. The apps allow users to buy and sell pre-owned items. This gives participants a chance to save or earn money, plus prioritize reuse over discarding products.

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Gen Z members enjoy in-store shopping experiences

Sure, most people grew up as digital natives. At the same time, they’re not immune to great in-store shopping experiences. According to survey results published by Marketing Dive:

  • About 80 percent enjoy shopping at stores when they have time.
  • At the same time, 75 percent admit to mostly shopping online for convenience.

Like members of older generations, they may research important shopping choices online. They will still visit a store for an in-person examination of products and a chance to connect with people behind the brand before making a final purchase.

Very often, marketers mention Lush as a brand that works hard to create an engaging onsite experience while integrating digital experiences with physical stores.

Customers get a chance to try out products and speak with helpful salespeople inside the store. As another example, customers can use Lush Lens to take photos of products in order to retrieve a list of ingredients.

This suggests that sellers with physical items for sale should work to make the experience worth the extra time to attract more foot traffic from Gen Z. Retailers should also strive to integrate in-store and online shopping as much as possible. Sellers without physical locations may need to work harder to maintain trust with actions like great customer service and a generous return policy.

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Retail packaging for Gen Z

According to research from the National Retail Foundation, brands that demonstrate authenticity, sustainability, and a bit of fun attract members of Gen Z. While these values matter a lot to younger shoppers, they also say that their brand perceptions begin with packaging.

An obvious example includes sustainable retail packaging that’s also distinctive enough to stand out on store shelves or social media posts. Go People highlighted compostable paper bottles for personal care products.

They stand up to showers with a thin lining made up of recycled plastic. Even so, they use 95-percent less plastic than typical bottles. Even better, the containers collapse as they empty, so it’s easy for people to get the last drop of product out of them. At first glance, they look like traditional bottles for high-quality boutique personal care products.

eco-friendly paper bottles

The Importance of Social Media for Connecting With Gen Z

Any retail marketing agency should emphasise the importance of using social media to connect with Gen Z. As one example, the National Retail Foundation found that almost three out of four Gen Z college students purchased products they first found on social media.

Even more than typical ads and posts, social media will help leverage input from brand devotees and influencers, who will share posts from companies and their own experiences on their feeds. In fact, almost 30 percent of the Gen Z respondents to the NRF survey admitted high enthusiasm over certain brands.

This kind of word-of-mouth advertising from true brand admirers provides an authentic recommendation that attracts other members of their social circle.

Why retail marketing should focus on Gen Z

According to McKinsey Research, Gen Z hasn’t peaked in buying power yet. That might not occur for ten to 15 more years. Smart retailer marketing should not ignore this group, just because they haven’t entirely blossomed yet.

More than making their own direct purchases, adolescents, teens, and young adults influence the buying choices of their Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer elders. Of course, younger members of this generation still rely on their families for most purchases, so they express opinions to satisfy their own preferences. They’re also active on social media and can influence a diverse social circle online.

A focus on Gen Z can help improve current sales and future-proof marketing strategies for the next several decades.

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Audience Consumer Insights Creative & Production Direct-To-Consumer Insights Package Design Photography Video Production

This article is part of #TheBigeyeLens series exploring the future of consumer behavior, purchasing decisions, and marketing trends. We’ll be talking about DTC Design Trends that are taking over.

Since eCommerce sales exploded in the past several months, online brands have enjoyed a lot more opportunities to prosper. At the same time, increased sales attracted more competition. New and established businesses began competing for attention on retail sites, search engines, and social media.

To stand out from the crowd, successful sellers looked for ways to improve DTC product design to better satisfy consumers, improve their brand image, and get found both online and offline.

In a crowded online or offline market, brands first need to uncover CPG marketing trends to learn what their potential consumers seek, besides just another jar of face cream, bottle of vitamins, or piece of home decor. With that in mind, consider these five design trends that can offer distinct competitive advantages and more effective online marketing for CPG products.

1. Sustainability

Beyond high-quality products, sustainability can also attract today’s eco-conscious consumers, as discussed in this Bigeye article about sustainable DTC packaging design. Almost everybody expresses at least some environmental concerns, and a majority of people say they’re willing to take steps to live more sustainably. When brands demonstrate that they offer the more sustainable choice, they can differentiate themselves from competitors.

Look at a couple of examples of companies that use sustainability to compete with major grocery retailers:

  • Grove Collaborative: Grove Collaborative makes it easy for consumers to conveniently and affordably buy high-quality, sustainable consumer products online. These benefits make this company a hit with growing families and other eco-conscious consumers.
  • Imperfect Foods: Typical grocers look for uniform size and color. Imperfect foods can sell too-long bananas or ugly peaches to reduce food waste and save their customers money.
  • Luma & Leaf: The natural skincare brand uses vegan, sustainably sourced ingredients to ensure that their products are kind to your skin and the environment alike. The Luma & Leaf packaging is meant to be upcycled after use to keep empties out of landfills.
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2. Vintage-inspired product designs

Harvard Business Review discussed the benefits of nostalgia as a coping tactic to help deal with stress. This sentimental feeling can make people happier, reinforce social bonds, serve as a source of inspiration, and even provide a more balanced perspective on current issues.

While some people prefer reminders of past times they actually lived through, others feel connected to decades that occurred before they were born. Overall, society may offer better current solutions today, and most people know this. Still, with nostalgia, it’s possible to take the best and leave the rest in the past.

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As an example, Today ran a segment on the way fashion tends to recycle themselves about every 30 years. They noted that the early 1990s to 2000s brought back an updated version of mod hats and flared pants from the late 1960s to early 1970s.

Right now, Gen Z has reawakened this trend. As an example, look at this vintage smiley face hat from Urban Outfitters that Miley Cyrus popularized on Instagram. Levi’s also released high-waisted, flared jeans that would fit right into 1970 almost as well as 2021.

3. Accessibility

As Unilever pointed out on a product page, people who cope with various disabilities make up the world’s biggest “minority group.” Their research found that just about 25 percent of Americans live with disabilities, and that most personal care and beauty products overlook them.

For instance, people who must deal with a limited range of motion or visual problems have trouble using typical deodorant sprays or twist applicators. In response, Unilever worked with disabled communities and product designers to develop Degree Inclusive.

The package design allows for one-handed use, even with a limited ability to grasp the container. Not only can Unilever help make a positive change in the market, they can also attract a large and underserved market.

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4. Personalization

Limited space on retailers’ shelves tends to emphasize one-kind-fits-all products. Products don’t need to take up physical space for online retailers, so consumers have the opportunity to find the perfect product to suit their budget, personality, and unique requirements.

A consumer insights agency doesn’t need to uncover products that most people will find good enough to satisfy their needs. Instead, they can work to develop many smaller subniches and markets that large competitors may overlook or choose not to focus on.

A couple of examples of companies that have succeeded with a personalization strategy include:

  • Care/of Vitamins: This brand offers a diverse selection of high-quality nutritional supplements and holistic remedies to suit each customer’s needs. Customers also say that Care/of stands out by offering personalized customer service to ensure satisfaction and the best solutions.
  • Function Beauty: Function Beauty starts by developing cruelty-free, vegan products that exclude harmful chemicals. They also offer online quizzes on their site to help tailor hair and skin products to the exact needs of each customer.

5. Photogenic products made for social sales

Neil Patel, a top influencer and founder of his own consumer marketing agency, talked about the important and difficult job of standing out on social media these days. According to Neil Patel, visual content stands as a critical pillar of successful social media campaigns.

He mentioned scientific reasons to support this outlook. For instance, visual information represents 90 percent of what’s transmitted to human brains. People also process visual information exponentially faster than they do text. After all, most kids need to go to school to learn to read but not to see.

With the idea of standing out in crowded Instagram and Facebook feeds, plus enjoying the benefits of influencers attracting a wider audience, look at some good examples:

  • Ruggable: Ruggable sells two-piece sets that consist of washable rugs and non-slip pads. They make the rugs resistant to spills and nontoxic, and the brand appeals largely to pet owners and parents who don’t want to worry about spending a lot of money on high-quality furnishings only to have them ruined by a spill or accident. The company grew their business quite a bit by using platforms to find social media influencers with the right audience. They also produce outstanding images of their rugs arranged in realistic settings.
  • Away Luggage: In 2015, Jen Rubio leveraged her own malfunctioning suitcase experience in a foreign airport as the inspiration to develop durable suitcases with handy, built-in chargers. By blanketing social media with the product, they made $12 million in sales during 2016 and achieved profitability in 2017. Though the company eventually opened a few physical stores, they do most of their business online. The pandemic hampered momentum somewhat, but Away Luggage brought in $150 million in 2019.
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Plenty of online and offline stores offer beauty products, rugs, luggage, and a variety of other consumer products. Attention to consumer preferences and trends helps products stand out, so they can compete in crowded marketplaces.

These days, look for ways to design products and packaging to appeal to customers through personalization, sustainable options, accessibility, sentimentality, and visual appeal. The right competitive edge means that brands might not need to compete so much on price and can also enjoy better returns from marketing investments.

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Insights Real Estate

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes The Emerald City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Seattle Research Report to review all of the details.

Seattle: Fast Facts

Seattle is the 18th most-populous city in the US and the largest city by both area and population in Washington State, followed by Spokane and Tacoma. Located on a land neck between Elliott Bay (Puget Sound) and Lake Washington, Seattle is about four hours west of Spokane; about 37 minutes from Tacoma; about two-and-a-half hours driving from Vancouver; about 10 minutes from Bellevue; and about 23 minutes from Kent.

Seattle is currently growing at a rate of 1.5% annually and its population has increased by 28% since the most recent Census, which recorded a population of 608,660 in 2010. The Seattle metropolitan area has more than 3.5 million inhabitants, making it the 15th largest metro area in the country. Nearly 57 people move to the Seattle area every day, according to a study done in 2020.

Most residents from Seattle are known as Seattleites and the city is also known as Emerald City because the city and surrounding areas are filled with greenery all year round, even in the winter due to all the evergreen trees in the area.

Seattle has become modestly more racially diverse, with people of color comprising 37% of population in 2018, up from 34% in 2010. And the most diverse part of Seattle — the fast-gentrifying South End — actually became whiter.

I moved from Ireland over 10 years ago. The characterization of Seattle as a “big small town” or a collection of distinct neighborhoods is true. Dublin feels like more of a centralized big city. I like both in their own way.

Angie McC
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Seattle Neighborhoods

Fremont, located just north of downtown in the center of the city, has a bohemian vibe with indie shops, hip bars and quirky outdoor sculptures, including the famous gigantic Fremont Troll lurking under the Aurora Bridge and the towering Fremont Rocket. Arty residents and tech workers often hang out in the area’s eclectic eateries. The Fremont Sunday Market has art, antiques, and food trucks. Cyclists and walkers can explore the canalside Burke-Gilman Trail. Companies like Adobe Systems, Google and Getty Images are also based in this neighborhood.

Between Puget Sound, Pike Place Market and South Lake Union lies Belltown, Seattle’s unofficial entertainment and nightlife capital. High-rise condos, trendy restaurants, and entertainment venues like legendary The Crocodile (ever heard of a band that played there called Nirvana?), and other bars and places are all densely packed, making this neighborhood extremely walkable. In addition, Belltown’s proximity to other areas of town means the neighborhood has excellent public transit.

More than just the high rises that dot it, Downtown Seattle has a rich history and plenty of diverse culture. It’s the central business district of the city and is fairly compact compared to other downtown areas on the West Coast. It is the heart of what most people think of when they think of Seattle. Visit the Seattle Art Museum, The Showbox for music or a show, or hear a symphony at Benaroya Hall. Residents of this area don’t need cars — with bike lanes and public transit options galore, a vehicle can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Located just a few minutes north of Downtown, Ballard has roots as a Scandinavian seafaring village, and salmon still run through the Ballard Locks to this day. Today, the waterfront Seattle neighborhood is a hip destination and home for Seattleites who enjoy the variety of trendy restaurants, and quieter parts and streets up north. Bonus? Residents can walk on a sandy beach while enjoying stunning mountain views. Rents average around $2,000 a month — one of the more expensive areas of Seattle.

Art galleries, coffee shops, and trendy bars fill Pioneer Square’s late-1800s Romanesque Revival buildings. Seattle’s first unofficial neighborhood, tourists explore subterranean streets in Pioneer Square on the guided Underground Tour and learn about the city’s roots at The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Office workers unwind in secluded Waterfall Garden Park or grab lunch from food trucks at Occidental Square, a plaza with bistro tables and bocce courts.

Affluent Magnolia is a residential neighborhood on a peninsula jutting into Puget Sound. Families explore the beaches and forested trails of vast Discovery Park, home to West Point Lighthouse and indigenous art at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. Smaller Magnolia Park has expansive water views. Locals mingle in the Village, a cluster of upscale shops and cafes, and site of a summer farmers’ market.

Laurelhurst is ranked at the top neighborhood in all of Seattle. It has some of the best educational opportunities with amazing amenities and a higher median income than much of the city. The University of Washington is just a short walk away, and it is northeast of downtown, which is a short ride from Laurelhurst. It’s near Wolf Bay and has beautiful views of the ocean, with Laurelhurst Park at the very center of the neighborhood. With plenty of dining and eponymous Seattle coffeehouses, living in Laurelhurst is a great Northwest experience. However, for residents on a budget or looking to save money, this neighborhood probably isn’t for them.

Located directly north of Lake Union, Wallingford is a centrally located Seattle neighborhood that still feels suburban. Wallingford is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Seattle, making it a popular place for families. On either side of Wallingford are Fremont and the University District, giving residents access to more bustling, hip areas. In Wallingford, there are sidewalk cafes, interesting shops, and refurbished buildings. Enjoy access to two different parks, and the famous Dick’s Drive-In.

Wedgwood is a mellow place with modest, well-kept homes and an active community. It has a couple streets with a standard assortment of restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and basic services like a dry cleaner. This is a great place for families given its many schools, including one of its leading preparatory schools. Wedgwood is bordered on the north by Lake City, on the east by View Ridge, on the south by Bryant and Ravenna, and on the west by Maple Leaf.

Northeast of Downtown is Capitol Hill — one of the city’s most densely populated areas, featuring a mix of old and new homes and condos. Considered to be Seattle’s LGBTQ+ capitol, the neighborhood is diverse and accepting. With lots of gay bars, nightclubs, indie coffee shops and more, Capitol Hill is also a highlight for food lovers, with some of the best restaurants in the city. Capitol Hill residents find respite at Volunteer Park or the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

I’m in the very center of Capitol Hill, Modera Broadway. It offers you an apartment home set in an artsy, exciting, hotspot like no other. And just like the neighborhood outside, it offers you endless options for fun.’

Tonya L
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Doing Business in Seattle

Seattle offers major attractions, it’s also known for it’s unique music scene, museums, and a modern, international airport.

Key Industries: Aerospace, Agriculture, Clean Technology, Forestry Products, ICT, Life Sciences, Maritime and Military

Major Employers: Amazon.com, Starbucks, Costco, The Boeing Co., Microsoft Corp., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, University of Washington Seattle, Providence Health, Walmart, Nordstrom, Barrett Business Services, T-Mobile

Major Tech Companies with Offices in Seattle: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tableau, Microsoft, Expedia, Apple, F5 Networks, Zillow

Major Financial Services and Insurance Companies with Offices in Orlando: Gravity Payments, Moss Adams, Russell Investments, Seattle Credit Union, Washington Federal Savings, PATH, PEMCO, Safeco, Trupanion

Seattle startups brought in $3.2 billion in venture capital through the first three quarters of 2020, according to Pitchbook, putting the city on track to easily break its previous high of $3.6 billion in 2019. Many were in fields like health care, A.I., enterprise software, and gaming–industries that are showing no signs of slowing down in 2021.

After its 1994 launch, Amazon got out of the garage quickly, moving across the lake to fill 630,000 square feet of office space in Seattle by 2001. Since then, the company has rapidly expanded downtown, growing to occupy 19% of all prime Seattle office space, according to a 2017 analysis by the Seattle Times. Amazon’s growth has meant that Seattle has seen a huge shift in its local economy. Wages have increased by almost $21,000 on average while the unemployment rate has dropped by almost 6%. With over 100,000 new residents in Seattle, the housing supply has struggled to keep up despite an explosion of new construction. Given the high demand, housing prices have soared. 

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Cost of Living in Seattle

A study looking at the cost of living in 257 cities across the United States has ranked Seattle as the fifth most expensive place to live in the country. The quarterly study looks at six categories — housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services — to determine rankings. It measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. 

For prospective homeowners, the median home in Orlando is about $14,000 above the national median, coming in just over $245,000. This, paired with the average costs of living and easy access to all of the amenities and entertainment venues, makes Orlando an appealing city to call home.

Florida continues to be a relatively low tax state, with extremely low per capita state taxation but considerably higher local taxes; however, its combined state and local rankings are rising. 

Orlando Apartment Living

At the onset of 2021, the median Orlando home price was $285,000 and the median Orlando monthly rent was $1,649 per month. Although this price point puts them above the national median, affordable housing is not in short supply in Orlando. 

Living in Seattle is almost twice as expensive as the United States’ average. The largest expense is housing, whether renting or purchasing a home. Transportation is also a significant cost for Seattleites, but the exorbitant costs end there. However, in many other categories, such as groceries and healthcare, Seattle residents pay a similar amount to many other Americans.

The Seattle City Council approves new tax on big businesses in 2020. Under the new tax, companies with annual payrolls over $7 million will be taxed based on their pay to employees making over $150,000 per year. The tax rate would range from 0.7% to 2.4%, with tiers for various payroll and salary amounts. Money from the tax will be used to underwrite $86 million in coronavirus relief to shore up city services as Seattle emerges from the pandemic and over the long term to pay for affordable housing, business assistance and community development.

According to ApartmentGuide, these Seattle neighborhoods offer a good selection of rental apartments, unique dining, shopping atmosphere, and a sense of community:

  • Wallingford ($1,450/mo for a studio*)
  • Queen Anne ($1,553/mo*)
  • Capitol Hill ($1,581/mo*)
  • Downtown Seattle ($1,707/mo*)
  • Ballard ($1,873/mo*)

What Orlando Renters Want

No two renters are the same, but many Seattle renters are constantly seeking features and amenities. Here are the top things tenants report looking for in a property.

  • In-Unit Washer/Dryer Simply makes a unit more attractive to most renters. It means more privacy and more convenience, and if utilities are included on the property, it means less in monthly costs, too (at least for the renter)
  • DishwasherThe process is time-consuming and wastes gallons of water. Energy-efficient dishwashers use less water per cycle than used for washing for
  • Online Rent Payments – We live in a digital age. Payments are becoming increasingly reliant on digital methods such as direct deposit, direct withdrawal, and simple money transfers. Paying rent online is not only convenient, but it’s also more secure. More importantly, it reduces the chances that renters will forget to pay on time.
  • Fitness Centers – If residents work out at a gym, having a fitness center in the complex is a great benefit. A fully-stocked gym with a wide variety of equipment can allow residents to cancel their regular gym memberships. Better yet, they’ll save time and gas on trips to the gym. 
  • Property-wide high-speed Wi-Fi amenities – These days, high-speed Wi-Fi is a must. Make sure to give your residents a great connection throughout your common areas. They may need to download music in the gym, stream a movie in the lounge, or hop on a conference call in coworking spaces. This is one high-end apartment amenity that is definitely worth the investment!
  • Modern or Smart Features – With all the technology available today, it’s no surprise that most tenants are looking for properties that are tech-savvy. In a world where renters are becoming more tech-savvy, apartments have to be up-to-date with the latest features. This could extend from simple features like USB charging outlets to more complex amenities like internet-connected HVAC systems and locks. Also, with the growing need to be constantly online, renters are now looking for places that feature a strong cell reception and wireless/wired connectivity for all their smart devices. Today’s tenants want the convenience of having an online payment and maintenance request option.

I feel comfortable with my monthly rent. Yes, Seattle tends to be more expensive than other big cities, but we have a lot to do.

Gio V.

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Seattle

Seattle has the reputation as one of the greatest arts cities in the world—after all, this is the home of music legends like Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Pearl Jam. Dancers, artists, musicians, and writers showcase their craft in new and unexpected ways. Seattle Symphony plays the classics and puts adventurous twists on famous soundtracks. Museums, galleries, and public parks shine the spotlight on treasured artifacts as well as the best in contemporary art. Pacific Northwest Ballet embraces boundary-pushing choreographers for new dance expressions en pointe. And the city is home to more than 80 theater companies, presenting new work and classic favorites in captivating productions on stage.

Seattle’s Chihuly Garden and Glass showcases the oeuvre of glass from world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. This forward-thinking museum inspires creativity and imagination as much as it pays tribute to the artist, through a surreal landscape of colorful glass sculptures that interact with the natural environment. The project features three primary components: the Garden, the Glasshouse, and the Interior Exhibits, with significant secondary spaces including a 90-seat café with additional outdoor dining, a 50-seat multi-use theater and lecture space, retail and lobby spaces, and extensive public site enhancements beyond the Garden. 

The Get Moving Initiative Community Program allows Seattle Parks and Recreation to provide culturally relevant physical activities, events and programs in neighborhoods and for communities that have Health Disparity Indicators of 20% or higher in the categories of “no physical activity” and “rates of obesity”, as defined in the 2014 King County Public Health Survey.  

Ask any Seattleite about their favorite sport and you’ll hear about everything from football to basketball to soccer to baseball. Seattle’s sports history continues today with the city’s eight major professional teams: 

  • Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
  • Seattle Mariner (MLB)
  • Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
  • Seattle Storm (WNBA)
  • OL Reign (NWSL)
  • Seattle Seawolves (MLR)
  • Seattle Dragons (XFL)
  • Seattle Kraken (NHL)

Read the full research report: Seattle, WA. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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Categories
Audience Consumer Insights Direct-To-Consumer Insights

In this age of data-driven marketing, the importance of data quality should amaze nobody. Even less surprising, the information that a business can generate on its own generally offers the most relevant and precise data to help inform marketing.

For almost everything in life, quality costs more. First party data offers an exception to that rule. It’s actually more abundant and cheaper to obtain than most other sources of information. Find out why a CPG marketing agency would urge any business to value first party data over other sources of information.

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What is First Party Data?

The kinds of first party data available to an organization may depend upon what they collect and the nature of their business activities. Some common examples include consumer demographics and behavior. This can cover everything from location, age, and interests to website visit and purchase history.

First party data comes from these kinds of sources:

  • Business websites, social media, and advertising platforms
  • CRM and other marketing, sales, or customer service software
  • Surveys, focus groups, and market research communities

Why Would a CPG Market Agency Encourage Using First Party Data?

First party data stands out for several reasons.

First party data offers relevant, accurate information.

First, a company’s own customers and prospects generate it. Since the company generates its own information, marketers can ensure its accuracy and most of all, its validity for that type of business. That makes first party data the most accurate and relevant information a business can obtain.

First party data costs less.

Beyond some investment in collecting and analyzing first party data, it comes for free. It breaks the rule that high-quality information must cost more than data of lower quality. Failure to collect and use this information leaves money on the table. This business intelligence can tell businesses how and why their own customers and prospects discover brands, which products they purchase, and what motivates them to return for more.

Less reliance on cookies makes first party data more valuable.

Website cookies refer to small files that allow for tracking, and they’re commonly used by advertising and analytics platforms. Justin Schuh, Chrome’s engineering director, discussed the ways that privacy measures may soon make most tracking cookies obsolete.

For one example, Google announced removing third-party trackers in Chrome within a couple of years. Apple has already announced banning cookies in Safari.

Large tech companies that rely upon tracking people for ads, like Google and Facebook, already have other solutions in development. To avoid totally relying upon the whims and prices of giant advertising platforms or data aggregators, retaining first party data will grow dramatically in importance for individual businesses.

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What Other Kinds of Data Do Businesses Use?

Of course, businesses may have a use for other data sources beyond what they can collect on their own. Both second party and third party data may prove useful in certain cases.

Second Party Data

Second party data refers to another organization’s first party data. Some companies choose to maximize the value of their information by selling it. Just like a company’s own first party data, it could come from social media, mobile apps, business sites, surveys, and other sources.

As an example, an online beauty retailer may have done a great job collecting and using their own information to inform marketing campaigns. This retailer still needs to boost revenue to meet business goals, so the company chooses to sell selected information to other retailers. For whatever reasons, they decide that the income they can generate outweighs the chance of giving up a competitive advantage.

Some businesses have not had the opportunity to collect much of their own data. In that way, second party data can offer a bigger picture. While second party data may lack the precise relevance and accuracy of first party data, it can come close. Businesses that lack much first party data may get better results by adding second party data to their analytics.

Third Party Data

A market research company or other aggregator may pull information from multiple sources. In turn, they combine all of this data and offer it as a package for sale. Benefits of buying third party data could include its massive scope and size.

On the other hand, buyers generally don’t get exclusive access to this information, so their competitors will have a chance to purchase the same dataset. Because it comes from multiple sources, it will also lack the precision and relevance of first party data or closely matched second party data.

Buyers can maximize the benefit of this kind of data by combining it with inside information to look for opportunities to uncover new audiences and expand their reach.

Where to Obtain Second Party Data and Third Party Data

Sometimes, businesses can buy external information directly from the source. As an example, A broker called Lotame Private Data Exchange connects buyers and sellers of second party data and third party data. In other cases, a consumer research agency may generate its own data and offer to sell it.

Before purchasing information, marketers should take the time to understand any restrictions on use, collection timeframes, and how the source obtained its data. The broker, seller, or consumer insights agency should offer transparent information about the nature of the datasets they offer.

Maximize the Value of All Marketing Data

Almost every marketer would agree that first party data offers the most value. In light of recent online privacy measures, the benefits of collecting internal data have grown even more acute.

At the same time, second party and third party data can add scale and perspective. It helps to start with an inventory of existing potential sources of first party data to ensure nothing’s wasted. Perhaps it’s time to invest more in analytics, online communities, surveys, and other productive information sources.

After determining their needs, businesses may make informed decisions to collect information that they need to fill in gaps. An experienced CPG marketing agency can assist with evaluating information needs, methods of collecting data, and if needed, sources of external data.

Categories
Branding Consumer Insights Direct-To-Consumer DTC Marketing Insights Messaging

Why Would a D2C Agency Suggest Building a Brand Community?

The idea of building an internet community around a company might have first gained traction with software and technology developers. Tech companies often establish user communities to provide information and assistance to users and prospects. Company employees might have provided some of this support, but over time, other members started to contribute too. DTC marketing agencies can a learn a thing or two from them.

Perhaps DTC marketing companies took a lesson from successful tech businesses. Today, communities support businesses that range from fashion, health, and beauty to automotive, entertainment, and travel. The communities help brands develop stronger connections, gather feedback, and analyze a goldmine of consumer information.

Where to Start a DTC Brand Community?

The best place to start a community may depend upon customer demographics, the location of competitors’ communities, or business goals. Consider some pros and cons of common options for community building:

Social Media Sites

Social media sites offer an easy solution. Customers probably already use these platforms and nobody needs to install and maintain extra software. Also, a social platform should make it easier to reach out and engage new members. Depending upon the typical customer base, popular suggestions for social networking sites include Facebook, Slack, LinkedIn, and Reddit.

Forums on Business Sites

Installing forum software on a business site should not require a lot of effort or a large investment. Downsides may include needing to keep the forum app updated and secure.

On the other hand, with this approach: 

  • A self-hosted forum allows businesses to maintain a lot more control over the way the community works, how it’s moderated, and who can see specific content.
  • Also, community members will navigate to the business site, so they should remember the domain and the brand.
  • The addition of user-generated content may help improve the website’s SEO and search rankings.
  • Best of all, the community and the company won’t need to compete for attention with social media ads from other businesses.
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Online Community Software Platforms

An experienced DTC marketing agency might say that a community platform could offer a compromise between social sites and self-hosted communities.  For instance:

  • Some of these platforms charge fees. In exchange, the provider should take responsibility for maintenance, upgrades, backups and security.
  • Unlike social networking sites, businesses can choose plans that do not show ads from other organizations. The best community platforms also make social sharing easy for members.
  • Also, these platforms offer lots of user-friendly tools that can help make the group more effective and engaging. Some examples include support for discussions, Q&A pages, and more.

According to blogging consultant Adam Enfroy, the user-generated content in a community can help optimize these platforms for search. That’s not as beneficial as optimizing the business site. Still, both search engines and group members should find navigating to the business site relatively easy.

Some popular examples of these community platforms include Tribe and Mighty Networks.

How to Grow Communities for DTC Marketing

Some communities take off on their own because of the value they provide users. No matter how much value most businesses can offer, they still need to invest some effort to invite group members to join and participate. Customers and prospects need to know the platform exists, where to find it, and most of all, how they might benefit.

As an example, Apple, Google, and plenty of other tech companies grew their group membership by offering a convenient way to obtain first-line support. Company representatives and other users could provide answers and solutions. At first, people might have visited because they needed specific assistance or information. Very often, these members would return to contribute their own feedback and knowledge.

Some suggestions to spread the word about a new business community include:

  • Sending invites after a purchase or delivery
  • Promoting the community on social pages or ads
  • Encouraging membership and participation with discounts or loyalty reward points

It helps to add some engaging content to the community before sending invitations. Some good examples might include FAQ pages, surveys, and posts to answer common questions, share good news about the brand, and solicit feedback.

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Examples of successful D2C marketing groups

A brief look at some successful examples of online brand communities should offer inspiration to help choose platforms, topics, and even specific content for other businesses.

Hims

This health and wellness company sells wellness products and provides a telehealth platform. As part of this initiative, Hims offers free, anonymous support groups that focus on a number of topics that relate to the company’s products and services. Examples of group topics include insomnia, mental health, meditation and mindfulness, and relationships.

Luma & Leaf Clean Skin Crew

Luma & Leaf sells natural skincare products. They chose to host a community for Luma & Leaf as a private group on Facebook. According to the company’s website, they strive to use this group as a safe space for people to connect, express themselves, and find opportunities for kindness.

Ceremonia

Ceremonia focuses on clean hair products with ingredients sourced from Latin America. According to the Ceremonia About Us page, the company invites customers to participate in a community that supports younger generations and promotes collaboration through forums, content projects, and feedback sessions.

Waeve

Waeve offers a variety of attractive, affordable wigs, with a focus upon Black women. They launched the WaeveWorld.com community even before the eCommerce site at Waeve.com. This gave the startup a way to introduce their brand. This community features stories from customers all over the world, quizzes, tips, and most of all, invitations to reach out to the company and subscribe to the newsletter.

Is It Time to Start an Online Brand Community?

Brand communities can enhance brand recognition, establish connections, offer insights, and provide value to customers and prospects. For just a few examples, businesses use groups for everything from providing advice about using a product to soliciting feedback about a new CPG packaging design. With a little effort, a business community can provide excellent returns on a modest investment.

Categories
Branding Creative & Production Insights

This article is part of #TheBigeyeLens series exploring the future of consumer behavior, purchasing decisions, and marketing trends. We’ll be talking about the enduring appeal of Retro Futurism in design.

Call it Retro Futurism, Mid-Century Modern, or California Modern. Picture the clean lines, bold colors, and mixed materials in the buildings and furnishings of an Eishler house or even The Jetson’s home in the fictional Skypad Apartments. See how Walt Disney imagined the future with Tomorrowland, a park opened in 1955.

Basically, Retro Futurism refers to the way prominent artists of the 1930s to 1960s imagined design choices their descendents would make in a generation or two. Their imaginations inspired real-world innovation. Perhaps even more than that, it evoked anticipation that helped people feel more hopeful about the future.

Everything Old is New Again: The Enduring Appeal of Retro Futurism

Surprisingly, a cartoon from the 1960s may provide one of the most well-remembered examples of retro futurism. We may not have flying cars or Rosie the Robot, as The Jetsons promised a generation of hopeful children back then.

Still, these futuristic design trends endured and even started to increase in popularity again in the last few years. For a fun example, look at George Jetson’s favorite seat and video screen from this 60-year-old cartoon. Today, with a wall-mounted TV and a popular style of chair, anybody can recreate this look in their own living room today.

Just Google “George Jetson’s chair” to find plenty of new, real-world examples that replicate this classic seat. With the right apps on a wall-mounted, smart TV, people can even chat with their impatient boss from the chair, like George reluctantly did in several TV episodes. Surprisingly, the creators of The Jetsons even predicted that everything about always-on connectivity in today’s future world isn’t entirely positive.

Did The Jetsons imagine the future or simply inspire it?

Maybe, like the popular song from the 1970s says, “Everything Old is New Again.”

Fave listening chair? - Accessories and Tweaks - PS Audio

How to Define Retro Futurism in Design

These main characteristics distinguish Retro Futuristic design:

  • Form follows function: Despite all the conversation about aesthetics, functionality matters. The product’s unique form or design solves a problem. Obviously, George Jetson found his chair comfortable.
  • Designs appear pleasing: People might describe the designs as minimalist, uncluttered, and sleek, with organic or geometric shapes. They appear unique but pleasantly easy on the eyes.
  • Objects push material boundaries: Designs often feature less traditional materials or typical materials used in unusual ways. Products tend to explore new uses of wood, plastic, glass, and metal.
  • Colors contrast and complement in bold ways: Products often use a bold blend or contrast of materials and colors. Stark black and white, neon, or bright pastels tend to feature heavily in retro futuristic design.

According to The Spruce, nostalgia explains some of the enduring popularity of this kind of design. Even more, lots of people appear to enjoy clean lines, gentle curves, a bold mixture of materials and colors, and the emphasis on minimalism and functionality. Most of all, they help people imagine alternative futures or ones that have just not happened yet. With that, they promise solutions to today’s tough problems.

What Does Retro Futurism Have to do with Consumer Marketing and Advertising?

For consumer marketing, effective advertising positions products as solutions to a problem. Common themes that run through retro futuristism involve discomfort with the present. In its original form, retro futurism offered a bold step towards solutions from the future to resolve this dissatisfaction.

As an example, notice the “suddenly, it’s 1960” advertisement for a 1957 Plymouth on the right. They positioned their cars as advanced when compared to their competitors’ products. Even decades later, people might still anticipate future solutions when viewing retro futurism from the past. After all, AI-powered, robot vacuums work pretty well, but they’re not Rosie the Robot.

Besides visions of a hopeful future, these design trends may also evoke nostalgia, even if they don’t necessarily offer any sort of advanced solution. As an example, look at the cute, new, and very popular microwave from Galanz that reminds people of the style of an old TV. Competitors offer plenty of larger and more powerful microwaves, but they’re not as cute.

Thus, advertisers can use retro futurism in their advertising to plant the idea that their solutions come from the sophisticated tech of the future or even from a simpler past. Either way, the vision inspires hope that the solution will solve a problem.

Retro Futurism from 1957

Leverage Retro Futurism for Consumer Marketing in 2021 and Beyond

Marketers always face challenges when marketing consumer packaged goods. At first glance, one brand of ketchup or coffee may look pretty similar to the next one to an average consumer.

Packaging Strategies mentioned leveraging retro futuristic designs as one of their top advertising trends predicted for this market in 2021. When it comes to CPG marketing, they agreed that retro-inspired design touches can help create an emotional attachment by evoking both feelings of nostalgia and anticipation. They expect lots of neon colors, bold patterns, and other design touches that generate that unique blend of retro and futurism that is retro futurism.

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Give Even Serious Topics a Fun Side

Perhaps most of all, enjoy the process of developing creative designs. Have fun with it. That way, customers and other stakeholders can enjoy it too. For inspiration, look at this lively poster from such a serious organization as Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Nobody believes JPL offers tours of Mars…at least, not yet.

At the same time, JPL says they reference historic sites as a nod to such important missions as Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter, and Mars Science Laboratory. While the promised tours are fiction today, JPL very seriously anticipates their future reality and hopes the poster helps other people look forward to it too.

Use retro futurism to position products as solutions from the future or the past. Hopefully, every household will have Rosie the Robot one day, just as so many people enjoy smart TVs today. It would be a lot of fun if the actual machine looked more like the one in The Jetsons than like a Roomba. Right now, these design trends can help customers imagine that one brand of ketchup tastes a bit spicier and another brand of coffee can make mornings sweeter.