It has also been said that you can’t market your way out of a bad solution and, in fact, only sub-par solutions need marketing in the first place. To the contrary, today’s quickest growing digital businesses, like mattress startup Casper, know the value of launching out of the gate with the right digital-driven solution, an innovative product -- and a smart brand. So, yes, your digital business needs a brand, and here are five reasons why: You'll need to create demand. But to grow exponentially, you need to not only meet demand, but create it. Today’s consumers are drawn to companies that emit empathy, companies with whom they can genuinely connect. You can humanize your own company by identifying your audience and creating a space for true connection. For example, Glossier started as a beauty blog that connected with audiences around the world by sharing makeup tips and product reviews. Traditional marketers say people don’t buy a brand, they buy into it. Digitally born product designers say people don’t buy into a brand, they use it. Investing in your brand and your business is a continuous momentum loop that builds on itself, and is the key to finding success as a digitally born business.
In the past, digitally native businesses found their first success without a brand: In fact, many Silicon Valley companies didn’t even use the “B” word.
Conventional VC wisdom, in fact, supported a model where entrepreneur would take the lowest salary possible, live on the future promise of their equity stake, put all their money into your engineers and their UX designers, code a killer service — and ship it. Some of the most successful digital businesses didn’t launch with advertising. Many still don’t.
The rationale? In the digital space it’s been said that your brand is not your solution. That if you solve for a user need and optimize, optimize, optimize it, success will come. It has also been said that you can’t market your way out of a bad solution and, in fact, only sub-par solutions need marketing in the first place.
But that was the old world. While the traditional de-emphasis on brand may remain the core mantra of the digital-first entrepreneur, it’s a wildly incomplete picture of the path to success. To the contrary, today’s quickest growing digital businesses, like mattress startup Casper, know the value of launching out of the gate with the right digital-driven solution, an innovative product — and a smart brand.
In its first month, the company hit $1 million in sales. The product was working, and the pain points in the mattress-shopping experience were being solved. What Casper now needed was the marketing to continue scaling growth. So, the company went to work not just delivering the “What” (the product), and the “How” (the digital service), but communicating the “Why” (the brand).
This well-defined brand voice led Casper to launch lother efforts, like the Insomnobot 3000 chatbot, which sends texts to sleepless people and “Late Night Snap Hacks,” designed to let a customer trick friends into thinking that he or she is out on the town instead of — as is the case — comfortably snuggled up in bed.
These campaigns have made the brand relatable and showcased its personality, while expanding its relevance with potential new customers. Three years later, Casper is still gaining new users and now expanding into physical retail stores.
So, what does the digital playbook look like today? One, you still need to start with the basics: Identify a real user need and solve it beautifully. Two, allow the solution itself to be a part of the brand message. And, three, maximize growth-hacking and performance-marketing. These are practices defined by leveraging the most targeted way to grow users, and by experimenting, learning and optimizing rapidly.
But these actions are not enough. Eventually, your…