How Direct-to-Consumer Brands Succeed — and Why It’s Not Too Late for Incumbents [paywall]

A few years ago, I started noticing several former colleagues taking jobs at direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, including pet food provider Ollie and Bombfell, a seller of men’s clothing. At first, I thought of these companies as experiments in a new business model, one that bypassed traditional retail and forged relationships directly with the end consumer.

I’ve changed my mind. That’s because this experiment, if that was an accurate way of characterizing it in the first place, clearly is working. These companies have become a real threat to much older and more established rivals. In the process, they are reinventing the way business and marketing as a profession get done.

In this piece for the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), I trace the D2C movement back to an arguable “Patient Zero” and reveal the conditions that made their ascent possible. I write about what makes them different, especially how they market their products, and the ways in which incumbent brands can punch back.

Click here to read on, noting that an ANA membership is required.

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