The evolution of direct-to-consumer brands

This article is part of a series of articles on the evolution of direct-to-consumer brands. Read more.

It’s easy to see the attraction of going direct to consumer (DTC) for brands. They get greater brand control through product, messaging, packaging and merchandising; proposition control by aligning with the customer experience; insight through direct access to consumer data; decreased retailer risk and margin protection.

Thanks to research by Professor Byron Sharp and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute we know the reason salience is so central to brand growth is that it allows brands to act as a mental short hand for consumers and reduces the cognitive load in making purchasing decisions. Yet, DTC brands like Dollar Shave Club (DSC), the razor brand and Glossier, the beauty company, are not born as recognisable brands with any degree of saliency but somehow scale and gain salience at lightning pace.