DNVB and Influence Marketing: the combo that works!
What are the characteristics of DNVBs?
Before we start, let’s take a little time to understand the main characteristics of the so-called DNVBs (Digital Native Vertical Brand).
There are a number of specific features that differentiate so-called “classic” brands from DNVBs. First of all, born on the Internet, DNVBs very often have a strong identity, often niche. They put forward products “at the right price” thanks in particular to the reduction of intermediaries and the fact that they have no or very few stocks. Logistical costs are therefore optimised because production is carried out on a pre-order basis only. DNVBs make extensive use of data and digital technology to manage their orders efficiently. Thanks to the information gathered, they are able to adjust their production volumes according to sales. Finally, their communication is 100% online and they are generally closer to their customers and their communities than more traditional brands.
To sum up, DNVBs have two essential characteristics:
- Digital Native: they are “digital” i.e. they were born in the digital age. All of these brands started out online and generate the majority of their sales via e-commerce,
- Vertical Brands: the notion of verticality is also very important. These digital brands sell their products directly via their e-commerce sites without going through a third party. Their objective is to limit the number of intermediaries for the manufacture and distribution of their products as much as possible.
The rise of DNVBs around the world
Although the term “DNVB” “only” appeared in 2015, DNVBs are already present everywhere in the world. In the United States with Glossier or Kylie Cosmetics, in France with brands like Joone or Sézane, but also in Germany with HelloBody or Purelei for example. In France alone, 145 Digital Native Vertical Brands were created in 2021, which represents an increase of +32.4% over the year. This growth is therefore confirmed and even accelerated since the growth of these companies was already +23.2% in 2020.
Their rapid growth (almost three times that of other online retailers according to Digital Commerce 360) has accelerated further with the health crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to have accelerated the shift from offline to online retailing by five years. Another colossal fact is that today, almost 20% of global retail sales are made online. That’s a lot!
In 2021, more than half of young adults, 30% of Generation Z and 36% of Millennials, said they plan to shop less in physical shops than before. Also, 28% of Gen Zers and 24% of Millennials said they were likely to shop online more than before. DNVBs, because of their design, are therefore the ideal answer for these young consumers who prefer to shop online rather than in shops. In addition, 88% of consumers say they prefer to buy directly from a brand if given the opportunity.
Social media also has a strong influence on their purchasing decisions. 64.2% of Gen Z noted that they look to Instagram for inspiration when shopping compared to 39.1% of Millennials. To become a leader in their niche, DNVBs rely heavily on existing communities to reach out to easily reachable prospects. These new digital brands have understood that their potential customers are found on the preferred networks of Millenials and Generation Z: they are therefore banking heavily on these platforms and on the power of Influence Marketing.
Antonin Chartier, CEO of Jimmy Fairly, told Forbes magazine why the DNVB model was an obvious choice in the creation of his brand: “The basic idea is to couple the ease of the old website with the new possibility of marketing via Instagram to get known. So there you have it”.
What are the strategies used by DNVB on social networks?
As we have seen, DNVBs are primarily targeting digital natives, so it is natural that their brand experience is created to be shared on social networks. DNVBs often rely on user-generated content (UGCs). This type of content increases conversion rates by more than 161% and provides DNVBs with an endless source of branded content that prospects identify with and are willing and able to interact with.
DNVB CEO and co-founder MVMT Watches explains that “UGC content is the most effective way to reach your audience. Not only will your subscribers relate more to their peers than to marketers, but soliciting content from customers is a way to deepen the emotional connection to your brand and build community.”
In addition, DNVBs are not shy about collaborating with content creators of all types (nano, micro, macro, celebrity) to reach an even wider audience and boost their sales. One example is Daniel Wellington, who relied on the power of micro-influencers to launch his now famous watch brand. Thanks to Instagram, TikTok, SnapChat and YouTube, these brands have been able to develop rapidly via a 100% Social Media strategy. It is therefore not surprising that the CEO of DNVB Glossier has attributed 90% of his brand’s turnover growth to Influence Marketing on social networks. With social media playing a key role in DNVB brands’ strategies, the 15% increase in digital media usage in 2020 has only accelerated their strong growth.
The case of HelloBody, a DNVB that has achieved great success thanks to Influence Marketing
A short while ago, we told you about successful DNVBs such as Daniel Wellington, Glossier and Purelei, all of which have achieved success thanks to Influence Marketing. Today, we’d like to take a look at the experience of the German beauty brand HelloBody.
HelloBody, a well-honed social strategy
Founded in 2016 by Monique Hoell, HelloBody is now one of the best-known beauty brands among Gen Z and now has e-commerce sites in 10 countries around the world (including the United States, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, France, Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom).
HelloBody has taken up the challenge of making a name for itself as a new player in the crowded beauty industry by creating virality around its products. And it’s thanks to its Influence Marketing strategy that the brand has been able to make a name for itself. To help stimulate interest and make itself known, the German brand has, in fact, turned to a very large number of content creators, mainly on Instagram.
Influencer marketing has therefore been an integral part of HelloBody’s rise. In 2018 and 2019, Monique Hoell, the brand’s Managing Director and CEO, estimated that she executed 50,000 influencer marketing campaigns, about five times more than in 2017. The KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) HelloBody has relationships that range from 5,000 to several million followers on social media.
HelloBody was one of the first brands to partner with influencer Sarah Harrison, who now has 2.8M followers on Instagram and still collaborates with the brand today. The influencer and the brand have grown together on Instagram, which strengthens their bond, but also the bond that Sarah Harrison’s community has with HelloBody.
Despite the years since its launch, HelloBody continues to pursue its Influence Marketing strategy: a mix of product giveaways to nano-influencers, partnerships with influencers with a larger community and paid digital advertising.
With over 344K followers on their Instagram account at the time of writing, brand ambassadors like Sarah Harrison who has been working with them since day one, many other regularly activated KOLs and a turnover of €65 million in 2019, HelloBody has definitely built a successful beauty brand based very much on their influencer marketing strategy.
Digital Native Vertical Brands have a bright future ahead of them as they have fully embraced the current consumer expectations that are intrinsically linked to their very digital nature. These new businesses have been flourishing online for a few years now and are expected to continue to grow in the years to come.