Lay’s Brings Back ‘Everyday Smilers’ Campaign, Promoting Selfies For A Cause

The Frito-Lay brand continues to spread smiles around the nation with its second year of “Everyday Smilers,” the cause-driven marketing campaign. It notes it will donate $1 million to Operation Smile organization which helps provide surgeries to children born with cleft conditions. This year’s initiative will launch on July 28, when special bags of Traditional, Wavy, Lightly Salted, Poppables and Kettle-Cooked Lay’s will appear in stores. 

The social media campaign was brought to life by The Marketing Arm agency and is being built on the success of last year’s #SmileWithLays. It’s driven by consumer personalization (which is expected to be the prime driver of marketing success in the next five years) and banks on the younger, social media savvy audiences, such as Gen Z and millenials, who are heavily engaged on social and known for their backing of cause-driven marketing. 

According to the company, last year’s effort resulted in 700 selfies posted daily (during an 8-week run) which featured users smiling alongside bags of the brand’s products. The featured hashtag generated more than 30,000 tweets and 10,000 Instagram posts during the eight-week period. Also, a special Snapchat filter with 21 seconds of play time saw 2.8 million shares. Operation Smile content produced on Facebook received a 14 percent engagement rate, which is 12 points above the industry average. 

Lay’s spokesperson also told Marketing Dive that the initiative will be supported with TV ads and the personal stories of the “Everyday Smilers” participants will “be revealed” in the upcoming weeks. 

Besides doing a good deed, the company, of course, gets a pleasant bonus in the form of user-generated content on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Similar campaigns include last year’s Absolut “Global Selfie” campaign that encouraged travelers to upload photos of themselves in airports and sent the selfies to outdoor digital displays and the very recent Kahlúa’s “Zero Likes Given,” which aims to celebrate Instagram users’ least-liked photos. 

Oscar Mayer Turns Wienermobile Into Airbnb Stay For Lollapalooza

Hot dog lovers, rejoice. Oscar Mayer is giving fans of the roving 27-foot Wienermobile a chance to rent the famous hot-dog-on-wheels for an overnight stay via Airbnb. Announced today, National Hot Dog Day, the experiential activation will kick off in Chicago with a branded campsite to coincide with next month’s Lollapalooza music festival.

The description on the Airbnb listing, titled “Relish a Stay in the Real Oscar Mayer Wienermobile,” reads: For one night only, you can have the opportunity to eat hot dogs, dream of hot dogs, and yes, live in a hot dog, with an overnight stay in the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. 

Targeted toward Gen Z and millennials attending the music festival, or “just those who relish a good story,” the hot dog paradise will have all the hot dog amenities one could wish for. Expect the Wienermobile to be stocked with Oscar Mayer hot dogs and Chicago-style hot dog essentials including an Oscar Mayer roller grill guest can take home with them. Guests who book the “cozy space for two” can also expect a sofa bed, sitting area, adjacent outdoor spaces for the bathroom and a hot dog picnic zone, all for $136 a night.

In addition to fueling guests’ hotdog happiness, the brand is making sure the camp site is social media-worthy. Near the outdoor space ill hang a custom Wienermobile art piece created by local artist Laura Kiro. Visitors will also savor a welcome kit full of hotdog-inspired accessories. Fans will be able to book their Wienermobile stay starting July 24.

Last year, Oscar Mayer’s marketing initiatives centered on the promotion of its new and improved hot dog recipes that axed artificial preservatives. To launch the campaign, #ForTheLoveOfHotDogs, the Wienermobile continued its cross-country tour, making pit stops and posing in front of historical landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Daytona International Speedway, and Citi Field Mets Stadium. Six different Wienermobiles are driving across the US at any given moment.

At a time when younger audiences are increasingly allocating their budgets to brand experiences and music festivals, Oscar Mayer is wise to enhance its marketing strategy with an immersive component. According to a study by Splash, where 785 millennial across the world were surveyed, 67 percent reported that they followed a brand on social media because of an event. Additionally, almost two-thirds of Gen Z want to touch, feel, and experience products before making a purchase. This year, a number of brands employed experiential activations. For example, Taco Bell transformed an existing Palm Springs hotel into a branded summer resort replete with merchandise and activations. Similarly, L.L. Bean partnered with Uber to encourage people to get out and experience summer at one of its pop-up campsites.

‘Optics Matter,’ Dr. Rebecca Swift Discusses How Getty Images Helps Smaller Brands With Diversity Messaging

It’s a cliché, but when it comes to diversity, marketing really does have the power to change the world. As one speaker succinctly put it at this year’s Cannes Lions, marketers work in the only industry that can change things with the click of a finger. Marketers are in a unique position of being among a select few who can easily and readily affect massive change. 

But, getting marketing to address real people and leverage data still feels like an uphill battle sometimes. For example, recent research has shown that 70% of women claim they don’t feel represented by everyday media images: affecting their health, relationships and access to opportunities.  

It’s these tone-deaf cultural depictions that Getty’s Project #ShowUs has in its sights. As a leading repository of stock images used across advertising and media, the brand has built the world’s most extensive photo library created by women and non-binary photographers. The ambition is to shatter beauty stereotypes and show women as they are and not how an industry says that they should be. Its aim is to set a new standard for the authentic, diverse and inclusive representation of women across the world.

I met up with Dr. Rebecca Swift, Getty’s Senior Director of Creative Insights, just after announcing the initiative. We talked about how Project #ShowUs is already helping her clients to make better choices when it comes to depicting diversity.

How does it feel now that Project #ShowUs has launched?

Now that’s it’s out in the atmosphere, you’re waiting with bated breath. I believe in what we’ve achieved, but it’s only when you get a reaction back from other people that you start to realize how good it is. We’ve had an immediate positive impact as soon as we’ve launched it. We haven’t had any negative feedback yet. I’m still waiting for the …but?’  

For Getty as a business, we need to have a slightly more long-term view when it comes to assessing how we’ve done. First and foremost, we aim to keep these women in the industry and attract other women. So far, though, the response has been way beyond our expectations and beyond anything we’ve done before.

It’s the first time Getty has done something this radical. What has it been like working with the likes of Dove to make this happen?

Today was the first time presenting the project to people and saying; “here you go, tell us what you think.” We probably should have done that earlier. 

Having Dove’s marketing machine behind it has also been a massive help. When people think of Dove, they think of the campaign for real beauty. Most people tend to understand that they’re behind self-esteem issues, especially when it comes to younger women. I think that has been an extra piece of promotion that has helped us get it out there.

What has the response been like so far?

For me, the best thing about working on this project has been that it has brought me into contact with other organizations and other marketers. We’ve just been down on Inkwell beach, and we’ve had so many people come up to us and say, “thank you for doing this, it means a lot.”

The optics of doing a campaign like this matters. We’re not a niche company. We’re not a specialist organization; we work for everyone. Therefore, to see diversity front and center in a mainstream place like Getty Image is important. It says to other organizations that diversity matters and it’s something that they can do, too.

Moving forward with the initiative, how important is Getty’s role when it comes to widening the depiction of women and minorities in advertising?

In the past, the representation of BAME, disability and non-binary sexual relationships have traditionally been the domain of particular photographers invested in those issues. They haven’t necessarily been the best photographers in the world.

That means that before Project #ShowUs, you’ve often had images that depict these groups, but it’s not shot in the same aesthetic way of mainstream advertising. That’s exactly what we’re addressing. We want to make a library of images that are beautifully shot but are also unexpected, because of the subject matter of the people we’re showing. 

How is Getty helping that message trickle down? Aren’t many of these images going to be used by marketers working on smaller, lower-budget campaigns?

That’s exactly right. Part of my role at Getty is not only bringing that kind of stuff in, but it’s also disseminating it out again. We have over a million customers that we work with worldwide, and we’re in a privileged position in that we can talk to them. We know the type of images that they use and how they use them. We have an excellent understanding of their processes and production standards and can use that to help them make better choices.

That’s been an exciting evolution of the business. Twenty-five years ago, we didn’t use to get involved in this kind of thing—like education and evangelization. We were simply a supplier that you’d come to for an image. However, because of our worldwide spread and the data that we have, we advise advertising and media on the type of media they should be using.

How is Getty helping marketers at SMEs present a more diverse image?

I do a lot of work with small businesses. That’s my passion. I love being able to work with people who’ve gone from their kitchen table to be on the cusp of being a brand. SMEs are a key market for us, and we create an array of education documents and guides that can help them improve their visual language. 

I think the diversity message is cutting through to small business more quickly than large ones. With an SME, you’re usually working with someone who understands that they’re talking to people who are like them or a diverse community. I’ve found that global organizations are more reticent about change. They are usually the people who have done promotion for many, many years and feel committed to doing things in a certain way. They are the ones who are not ready to make that move forward. 

It does feel like there is a strong business case for campaigns that feature diversity.

I think events like Cannes has been vital in helping to change people’s minds. You’ve started to see brands begin to speak up about their successes. Now that people are starting to see that it can work, it’s getting easier to have these kinds of conversations. 

I think evidence makes the conversation easier all round. It’s unfortunate, but often saying “this is the right thing to do” is one of the harder things to say to businesses.

Don’t we need people to have these hard conversations, though? I mean, someone had to take the chance on diversity in the first place.

Yes, we do, but we also need people in the industry to support one another and remain committed to the idea. We get asked to do things like this all the time, and one of the main reasons we partnered with Dove was because they have a track record in leading from the front. We knew that they would stick with it. We needed someone who would take that chance with us.

Kahlúa Wants To Liberate Instagrammers From Social Media Pressure

Kahlúa has launched a digital campaign called, “Zero Likes Given” to celebrate Instagram users’ least-liked photos and encourage users to spend less time worrying about “likes,” and more time enjoying the present moment. The campaign comes after Kahlúa conducted a study that found more than half of millennials missed an important moment because they were trying to capture it on social media. 

In the study, commissioned by Kahlúa and conducted by Wakefield Research, over 90 percent of US millennials surveyed on social media said it’s important to live in the moment. At the same time, over 60 percent agreed it’s important that their Instagram pictures get liked. The ugly truth about millennials’ obsession with seeking validation from Instagram is reflected by the fact that more than a third of respondents admitted they check for likes one minute or less after posting to Instagram.

Based on these findings, Kahlúa created the “Zero Likes Given” campaign with a special landing page on its website, called #BottomNine, that features a tool to generate user photos on Instagram with zero likes. To see their #BottomNine, consumers log in with their Instagram account and the app serves up the least-liked images, what Kahlúa calls “forgotten gems.”

In an effort to liberate social media users from the pressures of their like count, Kahlúa is also opening a pop-up exhibition in New York City from July 25-July 28. Hosted by actress Jackie Cruz (Orange Is The New Black), the gallery will display dozens of “unliked” images that consist of zero-liked photography originally posted from consumers from around the world. The pop-up will feature the oldest zero-liked Instagram post, which was first published a day after Instagram launched in 2010.

“Life has become too serious, with social media showing an artificially perfect view of life. Even coffee and cocktails are now required to be picture-perfect! We at Kahlúa embody the fun side of coffee, so we’re taking likes less seriously in the spirit of our own brand and providing a call to action for everyone out there to do the same–we want consumers to enjoy hanging out with friends more than they enjoy garnering likes,” said Giancarlo Martins, Kahlúa global communications lead.

T-Mobile Continues Partnership Push With Taco Bell Pop-Ups

To lure new audiences, celebrate their customers and give consumers who use other carriers major FOMO, T-Mobile in partnership with Taco Bell will open “T-MoBell” pop-up stores in three cities in different parts of the country for three days, starting July 23.

The concept pop-ups are a part of the larger mobile carrier’s initiative, called T-Mobile Tuesdays. In support of T-Mobile Tuesdays, T-Mobile and Taco Bell launched a widely successful for both partners (and immediately profitable for Taco Bell) “Taco Tuesdays” brand activation around Super Bowl 2019. The initiative, which is a T-Mobile rewards program, supplies the loyal customers with free tacos, exclusive swag and discounts “Every week. Anytime.” Within the rewards program, T-Mobile shows customer-appreciation with anything from baseball and movie tickets to the trending Stranger Things inspired “Scoops Ahoy’ ice-cream.

For T-Mobile’s partner Taco Bell, the pop-up store brand activation is familiar ground, as it already offers wedding services at some of its Cantina locations and in August, the fast-food giant will invite the guests to its The Bell hotel, which features exclusive merchandise and menu items (very much like the T-MoBell brand activation) and was sold out in two minutes. 

The T-MoBell-goers will be treated to free food, offered limited edition T-MoBell Freeze and mobile swag, as well as meets and greets and Instagrammable moments with celebrities, such as Colton Underwood from “The Bachelor.” The participants will also get a chance to win a $500 Taco Bell gift card which translates into a full year of free tacos. 

Those who want the chance to snack on free tacos for 365 days or win Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones, an Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 speaker and other prizes, don’t have to be physically present in NY, LA or Chicago or even be T-Mobile customers. Anyone can join the mobile company’s social media campaign and follow @TMobile on Twitter for giveaways starting July 23. 

John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO said in a statement, “When we launched free tacos every week on T-Mobile Tuesdays, TacoBell.com had its highest online order day ever and T-Mobile Tuesdays was number one in the App Store. Since then, Un-carrier customers have snagged more than 14 million free tacos from the app! People love tacos. And they love their phones. T-MoBell is the ultimate fusion of those two loves, and we can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve cooked up.”

Havaianas Creates Virtual Storefront Using AI-Enabled Tropical Mural

Havaianas dipped its flip-flop clad toes into the world of augmented experiences, creating a virtual storefront on the Venice Beach Boardwalk for a campaign called, “Step into Summer.” The brand collaborated with street artist Buff Monster to create a colorful, one-day mural at Windward Circle near the beach’s skatepark.

The street art held more than just bold designs. The expansive tropical art installation was layered with Google Vision artificial intelligence (AI) to give boardwalk visitors a fully immersive experience and the ability to shop Havaianas on the spot. 

When onlookers scanned their favorite part of the mural with their mobile devices, they were redirected to the Havaiana’s site where a pair of sandals that matched the color of that mural’s section appeared. Those who stepped onto the mural to shop the boardwalk store received styling tips from celebrity wardrobe stylist Tara Swennen.

The company partnered with Buff Monster because of his Hawaiian heritage and natural compatibility in his art and the brand’s style. In the creation of the mural, Buff Monster used his signature bright colors and bold lines.

“The U.S. is a huge opportunity for Havaianas and a lot of people haven’t discovered us yet. We want to change that,” said Fernanda Romano, executive director of Digital Channels for Havaianas’ parent company Alpargatas.

The company is known for creating multi-channel campaigns internationally. The brand’s recent Local Soul Project gave local artists in Ibiza, Tel Aviv, and Mykonos the chance to showcase their design skills using Havaianas as their canvas. To complement the initiative, Havaianas hosted summer beach parties that brought a touch of Brazil to the Mediterranean at each of the three locations. Six pairs featuring designs that paid homage to the three cities were available to buy from retailers exclusively in those areas.

This year, Havaianas also created a 90-second video spot vshowing the quirks of Brazilian culture with a Stranger Things tie-in. The spot tells the story of Brazilians who bought Havaianas in 1985 only to remove the straps and flip over the soles with the belief that they looked nicer and more colorful. An upbeat version of the show’s theme song plays as the spot closes with: “So, what’s stranger: the city with the upside-down world or the country with the upside-down flip flops?” 

US Online Retail Sales Slow, Hits Inflection Point, Study Finds

US online retail sales growth has slowed for four consecutive quarters YoY for the first time since 2012, according to FTI Consulting’s “2019 US Online Retail Forecast.”

The findings suggest that online retail sales may have reached an inflection point, if for no other reason than its underlying size. In the most recent four quarters, growth of online sales has slowed to 13.3 percent from 16.1 percent a year earlier, and has decreased even further to the low 12 percent range in the two most recent quarters.

FTI expects US online retail sales will be $575 billion in 2019, a 12.3 percent increase over $513 billion in 2018. The numbers, however, are low compared to the 14.2 percent increase in 2018 where the market topped $500 billion for the first time. The company predicts the figure will reach $645 billion in 2020, a 12.1 percent increase and $1 trillion by late 2025.

Despite the deceleration of online spending growth, the e-commerce channel captured nearly 43 percent of total retail sales growth in 2018, the report notes. By 2025, online retail sales will hold a market share of total retail sales of 21 percent compared to 15 percent in 2019.

While no single event can explain shoppers’ spending slowdown, the report cites negative developments in 2018 such as the government shutdown and escalation of trade tensions.

“For omni-channel retailers, recognizing an inflection point for their product categories should impact business planning decisions. Failing to do so could result in over-investment in costly online expansion projects, such as distribution centers and logistics support, under a potentially erroneous assumption that high growth rates are sustainable for a prolonged period,” said Christa Hart, a senior managing director in the Retail & Consumer Products practice at FTI Consulting.

Though it recently launched its fifth Prime Day and reported $14 billion in Prime subscription fees in 2018, Amazon may also experience its own limit as its retail sales growth slowed notably in recent quarters. FTI forecasts the giant’s retail sales growth rate to slow to 19 percent in 2019 from 30 percent in 2018.

“While a slowdown in online sales growth will impact the channel as a whole, it may matter less for established online leaders, such as Amazon and Wal-Mart, as they focus their efforts on getting existing customers to spend more with them,” noted said J.D. Wichser, leader of the Retail & Consumer Products practice at FTI Consulting. 

The Three Major Shifts That Will Make Personalization More Personal: McKinsey & Company Report

Per management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, personalization will become the prime driver of marketing success within the next five years. However, 15 percent of CMOs surveyed admitted that they don’t believe their companies are currently on the right track with personalization. To scale up marketing efforts in the age of personalization, McKinsey & Company laid out three major shifts that deserve attention.

Digitalization Of Physical Spaces 

The survey data suggest that “offline” person-to-person experiences are expected to become huge for personalization, as 44 percent of CMOs say that frontline employees will rely on insights from advanced analytics to provide personalized, in-person offerings; 40 percent believe that personal shoppers will use AI-enabled tools to improve service; and 37 percent are convinced that facial recognition, location recognition and biometric sensors will be used more frequently in the future 

Certain retailers are already successfully practicing personalization in their marketing initiatives. As an example, the researchers use Covergirl’s in-store AI-powered program, enabled by Google’s conversational Dialogflow. The augmented-reality glam stations let customers “virtually test” products. Macy’s, Starbucks and Sephora aren’t far behind, tapping into personalization with the use of geofencing and company apps to trigger relevant in-app offers when customers are located near a store.

Emphasis On Empathy 

Today’s consumers, especially the younger ones, care a great deal about empathy, but feelings are not easily adaptable in the digital world. Fortunately,  researchers say, machine learning is getting much better at reading and responding to emotional cues. More sophisticated algorithms enable programs to interpret new kinds of data (visual, auditory) and extrapolate emotions much more effectively. 

For example, voice assistants like Alexa, are getting smarter and more empathic. With each new upgrade comes new skills. To compare, in 2004 Alexa only had one skill and in 2017 that number grew to 25. 

“In time, these advances could help marketers communicate with customers in a way that’s tied to specific moods, offering specifically curated promotions for music or movies, for example, that match that mood,” McKinsey & Company researchers say. 

Building A Complete Ecosystem For Personalized End-To-End Customer Journeys 

A shopper’s purchasing experience never happens in a bubble. A buyer typically interacts with or benefits from multiple sources. For example, buying a specific branded piece of clothing inside a large department store within a large mall means one consumer touches several organizations. Building smart connections that share insights between all the players in an ecosystem opens up opportunities for personalization, making it possible for brands to deliver more seamless and consistent consumer experiences across all stages of the customer journey. 

Additionally, the researchers advise that investments in customer data and analytics will set the foundations for more personalized and seamless marketing initiatives based on factors that really impact consumers.

“Personalization is impossible if marketers don’t have the means to understand the needs of high-value customers on an ongoing basis. So top marketers are developing systems that can pool and analyze structured and unstructured data, algorithms that can identify behavioral patterns and customer propensity, and analysis capabilities to feed that information into easy-to-use dashboards,” they say. 

“You Have To Be Willing To Accept Risk And Failure,” MediaLink’s Dana Anderson On How To Make Marketing Transformational

Even with a long history and visible presence at Cannes, launching CLX, a new experiential-led area that showcased the best in immersive marketing, MediaLink curiously remains one of the more mysterious organizations at Lions. 

“I am fixing that, let me tell you,” laughs ‘MediaLink’s CMO Dana Anderson as we sit down at the Cannes Hotel. “Most people think of us a company that introduces people to other people, but ‘we’re more of an intersection between Madison Avenue and technology. The way we help marketers falls into six lanes of disciplines: data and tech, brand transformations, media, diligence, entertainment and agency optimization.”

Anderson’s specialization is MediaLink’s brand transformation department, where she uses her wealth of marketing knowledge to help CMOs deliver large, multidisciplinary brand-led projects. She is an industry visionary with a glittering track record when it comes to delivering high-profile transformational projects. She previously ran marketing at Mondelez International, and also served as CEO at both DDB and FCB Global.

She talks about organizational changes that marketers can make to become more effective.

MediaLink’s primary objective is to help marketing departments become more effective; with that in mind, what do you see as the main challenges facing CMOs?

The reason MediaLink calls ourselves a transformation group and not a marketing group is because we always say, ”last year is the least amount of change you’re ever going to experience.” Marketers are in a tricky position right now. They have so much to look after and things are moving fast so that they also have to learn new skills continually. 

The common perception out there is that the average CMO is only ever really at a place for three years. Well, if that’s the case, then we’re finding that the first year is critical. Many structures need putting in place. Not only do you have to change the strategy, but you also have to figure out procedural changes, like how to make an electronic SOW system or how you bill your clients. They also need to get out there and put points on the board.

How do CMO’s need to adapt to meet these challenges?

I think more people in marketing need to see their roles as more of a long play. CMOs should have a three-year contract, at least. Some work, especially content work, can’t possibly pay out even within a twelve-month framework. You’re running two journeys at the same time. One is the immediate sales journey, the other is the long-term funnel. It helps when you have time to accomplish both. 

Conventional wisdom tends to see the CMOs role as more of a firefighter, dropping in to solve a problem and rotating out.

That’s true, but I also think it’s causing a bit of a problem as CMOs move around so much. I can see the point of it. Giving people two years here and two years there is an excellent way of rounding people out, but there are benefits of having people who can bring longevity to the role.

For example, when I was on the agency side of things, I worked on Miracle Whip for eight years. During that time the leadership changed every two years, so we ended up being the knowledge keepers of the brand. Even that isn’t true anymore; agencies are way too volatile, and they move around too much as well. I think this lack of continuity means that the retention of insights and knowledge is becoming a big problem. 

Haven’t insights and analytics departments moved into this role?

Perhaps, but I’m seeing organizations starting to have conversations that begin with the question, ”Are we measuring the right thing?” If you’re living by a metric that isn’t truthful, then you’re just playing a game. 

”How can I get insights actually out of the door?” is one of the most common requests we get at MediaLink. It involves a lot more than just collecting data. You need to look at everything from how the company is structured, where it sits in an organization and where the information goes. You also have to ask what kind of people you need and how to define an insight as an organization. 

If you redefine an insight, not as a data outcome but as a fact that can lead to a business outcome, suddenly everything is different. It’s also crucial for marketers to use hypothesis in their work so that they can come to useful conclusions and not just notch everything up as a quirk of the consumer.

How do marketers go about figuring out what a useful metric looks like, opposed to a bad one?

I used to have a dashboard of twenty-six indicators on one piece of paper. I mean, talk about mouse type! You’d need a magnifying glass to read it. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what was measured though. I think people just wanted to look at everything laid out on a page and see if there was anything on there that told them if things were going up or down. 

Like many people, I think we were attempting to use analytics to tell us which metric, out of all of this data we were collecting, was telling us the truth. Another problem is that these established metrics are for large data companies, and they’re not designed to show tactical-level events. They are not right for everyone. I like to call them numerical fig leaves; they cover up more than they show.

In the end, the answer to what makes a useful metric very much depends on the particular industry that you operate in. It takes a lot of backward work to figure out a good indicator of success and growth.

In your experience, what are the major stumbling blocks that marketers need to overcome?

Creativity is a sticking point. Not in the sense of coming up with creative campaigns, but how to teach people in a different way. I think companies have realized that you can’t be fast and agile if you aren’t willing to take the appropriate risks. You have to accept [some] risk and failure. 

It’s especially true in process-orientated businesses like banking and pharma where the way of working is intrinsically cautious. Bringing in a more collaborative approach is a great way to bring those processes back in, but it can be a slow process. It’s a case of biting off a little bit, realizing that you haven’t died yet and going back for another little chunk.

IAB Study: 48 Percent Of U.S. Consumers Shop Disruptor Brands, Especially Those Who Use Purchases As Vehicle For Self-Expression

U.S. shoppers are increasingly opting to buy from direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, leading to even bigger disruptions in the retail market. The study, conducted by IAB, in partnership with Cassandra, found that a strong community and the ability to provide feedback to brands was one of the leading reasons that consumers, especially younger shoppers, became loyal buyers. 

Direct-to-consumer loyalists tend to be younger buyers who want retail purchases to reflect their personal expression, that’s according to the newly-released IAB “Disrupting Brand Preference” study. The research found that 84 percent of respondents who prefer disruptor brands are under 54 years old and tend to have a household income of $75,000 and above.  

Other key takeaways of the study include:

  • DTC buyers find value in their ability to contribute ideas and feedback to brands and enjoy the sense of visibility they feel as part of sizable social communities. 
  • Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp lead the pack for sharing brand attitudes, especially by older, traditional brand shoppers. 
  • Disruptor brands can best build consumer loyalty—as well as lifetime value (LTV)—through cross-channel interaction. 
  • Search, shopping and social media sites together are nearly equal to traditional TV for brand discovery. 
  • Disruptor consumers expect 24/7 omnichannel access.  

The most insightful trend, however, revolves around Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) buyers using their favorite brands as resources for personal branding and self-promotion. Thus, 47 percent of respondents said that they are more likely to familiarize themselves with a Direct Brand if it aligns with their personal style (which is twice as many, compared to traditional brand-only buyers, who say that they purchase brands to express “who [they are]).” 

These avid DTC brand consumers make up a part of a new audience group, identified by the researchers as “Super Influencers,” who strategically re-post and/or create brand-driven content to increase their own influence on social media, the study suggests.  The expectation is that DTC brands can rely on influencer strategies in their marketing efforts. 

Senior vice president, research and measurement at IAB, Sue Hogan, said on the matter, “There is a tendency to think that the online social activities of younger consumers are incidental—frivolous. But they are not. The differences between disruptor brand consumers and incumbent-only shoppers are stark. For disruptor brand consumers, social behaviors are calculated and deliberate, feeding their need for self-expression.” 

The study was conducted via a 20-minute online survey among a diverse sample of over 3,000 consumers and sponsored by Google, PebblePost and Spotify.