Navigating Your Brand Strategy in 2021

Josh Zhang
April 20, 2022

I recently shared a post outlining some of the stuff we're doing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but when asking some of my DTC/CPG business owner friends what they're doing at the start of the year, they didn't have any plans yet. The start of a new year is a great chance to think about the short-term and long-term goals for your brand.

One of your long-term goals that you should be continuously working on is developing a solid understanding of your brand identity. This includes everything from creating personas of your target market, conducting market research and competitive analysis, and ultimately letting that inform your visual identity.

Once you have a strong brand strategy in place, you have the flexibility to have fun with it and bring it to life. Good branding is more than just a flashy color palette. Instead, it's molding your brand's perception in the market through emotional benefits, customer loyalty, and core messages.

Brand strategy in Q1 campaigns

From a content/campaign standpoint, take the idea of "New Year, New You" to a whole new level. The idea of celebrating a new chapter, and making money off of it sounds like a great one.

For health and wellness brands, this is an annual tradition to help people get in shape/achieve the goals they want for the summer. However, even for non-health/wellness brands like Caraway or JUDY, it can be around instilling new habits like cooking vs takeout... or being more prepared as a family.

On the brand side, January 1 is when all the CPM's reset, and become the cheapest they will be all year. At Hint, I ran a subscription promotion beginning January 1, and our CPA for a new subscriber was $15! This is the lowest I had ever seen.

I highly recommend you take advantage of the fact that P&G, elections, Unilever, and all the other big spenders are turned OFF at 11:59 pm on Dec 31st. Go HARD and be prepared on all fronts... creative, landing pages, Facebook/Instagram ad account setup, buyer personas, offers, emails, SMS, etc. You have to do 12/12 things right for DTC to work.

We made more listicles to take advantage of lower CPMs, which means we can educate more customers, gather their profiles, and get them "iNtO tHe FuNnEl" faster. I say it like that because your listicles, landing pages, and website should be optimized to get the buy right away—especially if your product is under $150.

Two great listicle examples include these for Snif and JUDY. In addition to listicles, we're prepping some more long-form videos to build audiences for the year to come. This content uses key brand elements to bring our brand values to life.

The videos are more about our brand and less performance-focused. Ideally, they should be brand touchpoints that generate organic shares and referrals, not just boring "About Us" videos.

Focusing on the "Why"

If you think of 2020 and the news cycles, everyone is basically programmed to not believe what they see. If you are selling a premium product, it's important to be transparent about the "why." Don't just sell the "what."

No one cares if you're selling a premium shampoo. Tell them about why you're selling it, where the ingredients are from, and what makes it more legit than the competitors. Selling the "why" also leads to higher conversion rates + longer LTV. I remember when Scott Swanson (one of the smartest marketers that I know) and I started running this article for Hint, and people would come in and tell us they read an article about our CEO when we were in the office. It also resulted in better LTV and higher conversion into subscribers thereafter.

The most important brand touchpoint

Something you should always be thinking about is customer retention and how you can increase brand equity. An easy way to do this is with a thank you note to your most loyal customers.

If you have customers that have bought from you way more than your average purchase cycle, send them a thank you note! Chances are, they are going to probably think about gifting your brand during the holidays, so email them and thank them.

You can even ask them if they'd like a special discount code for purchasing bulk orders during the holidays. This is a great way to bring your ideal customers closer to your business and strengthen their loyalty. Have your customer service team make them a special discount code (e.g. JUDYVIP-SHARMA) and see what that does for you. 😉

Creating a lasting brand

This only scratches the surface of all the effective brand strategies that are out there. It's important to develop a long-term plan that correctly positions and distinguishes your brand from others on the market.

By following best practices and ensuring brand consistency, you'll create a memorable brand that your target audience will love.