This Week in Business and Brands: Ice Cream Identity, Reimagining Retail, and More

kid with ice cream

Customer-Centric Connection: The Direct Difference

Forget B2C: from Dollar Shave Club to Casper, the savviest startup move has been D2C – direct to consumer, that is – and it’s evolving the entire state of marketing as we know it. That’s because traditional codependent relationships between brands and retailers are making sales grow at a merely glacial rate – while brands like makeup maven Glossier are owning the relationship with the customer and seeing sensational success. And the benefits aren’t only to the bottom line: with that direct connection to each and every purchaser, those D2C brands get access to a wealth of demographic data and insightful info on their customer base. That allows for the constant adaptation and tailoring of both products and messages while they learn how to leverage their loyalty even more. Even when the company evolves full-circle – like suitcase-supplier Away, whose awareness-building pop-up shop turned brick-and-mortar into the cornerstone of their business – it’s clear that moving aside the middleman provides the most direct way forward.

Retail Revolution: Creativity in Concepts

Speaking of retail: how can brands adapt that time-tested traditional space for the tech-fueled 21st century? It looks like effective evolution can come from eager experimentation, rethinking the very ideas about what a physical location can provide to the customer. Just ask Nordstrom, whose latest innovation is to isolate the inventory, opening up empty “Neighborhood” stores for quick delivery of online orders, accelerated alterations, and 24/7 pickup availability. Creativity can also come from a source of competition. Facing the immediacy and ubiquity of a drop-shipper’s advantage, some retailers now bring the tactic right into their stores: a RevCascade tablet now allows in-store customers to order out-of-stock items direct from the wholesaler, thinking it’s simply coming from another location of the brand. From selling wares in others’ houses to shifting the offering from product to service, there’s no shortage of new ways to answer the big question: “What else should be happening in stores besides selling stuff?”

Talking Tactics, Tête-à-Tête: Growing Up with GDPR

With the new international digital privacy regulations now months in effect, what have we learned about the new landscape of online marketing? Take some tips from Gartner VP Andrew Frank, who knows how growing pains can lead to profitable pleasure:

  • On the optimist’s opportunity: “It’s going to clean up a lot of bad behavior in the marketplace. And I think for companies that are already sensitive about protecting privacy and data security, this is an opportunity for them to have less competition that is not as committed to those kinds of values and policies.”
  • On re-shifting the focus: “The movement away from third-party data toward first-party data…is part of a realization that marketers are having: Maybe there is a lot more value in looking at the customers they have rather than focusing so much on customers that they don’t have or might be able to reach.”
  • On the pursuit of personalization: “There are a lot of companies and innovators that are looking at the relationship between GDPR and blockchain. There’s a whole movement called “self-sovereign identity,” which aims to decentralize the management of personal data and provide consumers with controls around things like consent that could be shared or accessed by companies that are trying to manage these things.”

Brand New Recipes: Häagen-Dazs’s Flavorful Refresh

What does a tad too much luxury taste like? Ice-cream-of-the-crop Häagen-Dazs found out the hard way when exceptional started feeling unattainable, and the Millennial’s tongue turned toward other creameries’ concoctions. To spruce up the brand’s image from one “for older people” to one that’s “Instragrammable,” the aging label gave itself a facelift well beyond a logo redesign. Streamlining the interiors of its physical shops, adding a dollop of color to its somewhat sterile packaging, and swirling in more stories about its craftsmanship, the brand is hoping to appeal to that desirable demographic’s affinity for the authentic. It’s also moving away from the traditional when it comes to relaying their message of newfound attainability, embracing the digital realm of delivery through mobile platforms to keep up with digital-native competitors like Halo Top. Time will tell whether these new splashes of youthful flavor will be enough to keep the seductive scoop on top…

Video Victory: Couches Against Conformity

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with IKEA’s humorous and poignant look at the way your home can bring out your humanity…