February 1, 2023

Cuppa 9: DTC Profitability, Brandlonging, Black Friday, Storytelling

Shope Delano
VP Marketing

Welcome to the latest issue of Cuppa, a quick-fire newsletter for internet-first brand builders. Filled with analysis on the art, science and culture of building breakout brands in a digital age, it's quick enough to read over a cuppa. (Or something stronger, if you need it. No judgement). To get it direct to your inbox every other Monday, subscribe here.


Can Soho House continue to successfully execute on ‘Brandlonging’?

Brandlonging’ is the name of the game, and it's a strategy used by everyone from Virgin Airlines to most subscription consumer products. It's best explained by considering Soho House. They successfully make their members feel like they belong to its exclusive, beautifully curated community…so much so, that they forget how much money they're actually spending. 


We talk about creativity a lot…but what about relevancy? 

The fight to stay relevant is something we see play out time and time again in the world of incumbents vs disruptors. Whether it's Adobe launching Adobe Spark in their ‘fight’ against Canva, or Victoria's Secret launching the VS Collective after realising that Savage x Fenty and Parade are nipping at their heels. 


Not many habits will survive the current climate, but rituals will

Is your brand a habit or a ritual? Whilst habits create ease and consistency (i.e. buying the same brand of toothpaste because you trust it works), rituals create meaning. E.g. Peloton have successfully ritualised the experience of their products. You can buy the exact same bike (spec-wise) for about half the price, but the peloton experience holds space in many people's lives that is anything but utilitarian.



Direct-to-consumer is a distribution channel, not a business model

It's why we like to use the term digital-native, which means internet-first, not internet-only. In 2020, Allbirds' net loss totalled $14.5 million and Warby Parker's, $55.9 million. Both were heralded as online-only DTC darlings, especially Warby Parker who were one of the first to popularise the ‘no middle man’ strategy. Now, in their paths to profitability, both businesses are doubling down on brick-and-mortar.


Build your brand like an athlete

I remember watching The Last Dance a few months ago, and being in awe of how much grit and determination it takes to do hard things. This isn't the first piece of content to dig into what sports can teach us about business, but it's filled with good reminders on how to succeed.


Half of us are bored of Black Friday 

57% of consumers feel that Black Friday/Cyber Monday discounts are never as good as they expect them to be. (I agree). 54% expect brands to push lower quality products during Black Friday/ Cyber Monday. (Also, agreed). Seems brands will need to get creative, and go beyond a 20% discount code, to bring in their end of year sales. (Create a free account to read)

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The weird and wonderful world of food innovation

I'm fascinated by what's happening at the frontier of food and beverage industries. Think alt-meat, mushroom-infused coffee, vodka made from air, edible sunscreen and CBD-infused everything. Most new launches are happening out in the US - perhaps us brits are more sceptical?


A 7-part lesson in storytelling

If you're travelling anytime soon, and need something semi-productive to listen to, I'd highly recommend S-Town. It's a 7-part series by Serial and This American Life about a small-town guy called John, who calls a reporter to investigate a murder. It's a piece of brilliant storytelling, and I was left full of idea's for producing my own long-form content.


Emma Raducanu becomes brand ambassador for Tiffany & Co

The marketing world was truly chomping at the bit to nab Emma after her US Open win. Chanel, Aston Martin, Lacoste, Uniqlo and several cryptocurrency companies (?) were reportedly in discussion with IMG about sponsorship deals. Tiffany and CO were the first to lock a deal in, just a few weeks after their controversial hero campaign with Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Shope Delano
VP Marketing
charlie oscar