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DTC brands should focus on eco-values and clearer advertisement, says report

By Huw Hughes

Jun 28, 2019


Environmentally-conscious values are key for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands to engage consumers - but many aren't advertising their efforts clearly enough, a new study suggests.

New research by Rakuten Marketing found that one in four consumers across Europe are demanding sustainable values when choosing to buy from DTC brands. In Germany, 34 percent of consumers said they would be motivated to buy from a DTC brand focusing on sustainable working practices, while in France 26 percent said the same.

Focusing on the UK, 69 percent of consumers said they’d happily move to a subscription based model for day-to-day high street purchases including cosmetics, cleaning products and health supplements. Price (71 percent) and product quality (50 percent) continue to be the most important factors driving purchases, but a brand being ethical (17 percent) and sustainable (16 percent) also now rank among the top demands among consumers.

Anthony Capano, managing director EMEA at Rakuten Marketing, said in a statement: “Now these DTC brands have become successful international businesses, they will encounter rising pressure to act as ‘good global citizens’. Legacy brands like Waitrose have very effectively leveraged consumer interest in sustainability across the media with attempts to minimise packaging. This is certainly an area that could put DTC brands – many of whom rely on packaging and transporting each product individually - on the back foot.”

Brands need to better advertise their sustainability efforts

However, despite this growing interest in sustainability-focused companies, many brands are still struggling to effectively promote and advertise those values. The report found that only 47 percent of UK consumers currently feel the advertising from DTC brands online and across social media closely follow their interests.

Capano said: “One of the key ways brands will distinguish themselves amongst eco-friendly consumers, will be partnering with the right publishers in order to target the most relevant and engaged audiences. Working with the right eco-affiliates will ensure they hit the right tone with their eco-messaging and avoid any sustainability or ethics-based faux pas, especially when marketing to regions further afield.”

Around a third of consumers said social media campaigns (34 percent) and affiliate sites such as voucher and coupon websites (30 percent) are among the most effective ways of peaking their interest in DTC brands.

Capano highlighted the importance of technology in making it possible to identify such campaign opportunities. He said: “Advancements in AI and machine learning are catalysing affiliate marketing’s ability to achieve scale, and to improve personalisation and contextualisation. Armed with a new automated toolset, inspired by the success programmatic has enjoyed in the display arena, we now have the power to transform affiliate marketing and supercharge the growth these industry leaders are currently enjoying.”

Photo credit: Rawpixel.com, Pexels

Rakuten Marketing