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Transparency and authenticity: founders DNVB guarantee success

Born in Silicon Valley, Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) have conquered the world in just a few years. Glossier, Gymshark, Sézane, Sklum,... Many have staked out a solid position in online commerce thanks to an innovative business model and founders who are omnipresent in the brand communications. And while the consumer is placed at the core of the DNVB business model, the role of ambassadors that the founders occupy is what truly differentiates DNVBs from traditional brands. It is an essential role for those who actively participate in the success of their brands by emphasizing the values of transparency and authenticity.

Two people are holding a telephone
Two people are holding a telephone

Consumer-centric business model

The success of DNVBs, especially among Generation Z and Millennials, is largely due to the fact that these e-commerce brands have been able to differentiate themselves from traditional brands which sometimes struggle to capture the imagination of new consumers. While there are many elements that differentiate traditional brands from DNVBs, there are three main points of differentiation to keep in mind:

  • A consumer-centric business model. When we talk about DNVBs, we also talk about «D2C» or «Direct-to-Consumer» brands, given that one of the main characteristics of these companies is the choice to cut out intermediaries. Sales are therefore made directly with consumers, either via e-commerce sites or, more rarely, via physical stores.
  • Innovation as a driver. These digital natives know that the Internet moves fast, with consumers always eager to discover new things, new products and services. In addition to product innovation, DNVBs are also keen to develop the entire offer around it without being afraid to break existing codes.
  • The founder as spokesperson and guarantor of success. The success of these new companies is often explained by the crucial role played by the founder. Indeed, most DNVB founders are digital natives themselves, enabling them to address digital native customers on the same level. Unlike traditional companies that have struggled to understand the codes of the new generations, the founders of these new brands share values that echo and bring together the Millennial and Gen Z generations.

Transparency and authenticity, key to driving online success

Key to the success of DNVBs is the online model combined with the crucial role played founder the founding team which is committed to satisfying consumer expectations. Crucially, founders understand and share their customers’ expectations because they are also part of the new generations that have grown up with the Internet.

Today, more than ever, consumers are looking for meaning and transparency in their consumption. Because the D2C model enables DNVBs to eliminate intermediaries and exercise direct control over the value chain, it is much easier for them to be transparent with consumers about their business practices. Household linen specialist DNVB Bonsoirs (80.7K followers on Instagram), for example is notable for the choice to control the entire value chain from sourcing, through to direct-to-consumer sales which take place exclusively online. On the sourcing side, Bonsoirs bed linen is made in France with cotton sourced from the Middle East and India and bath linens are made from GOTS certified organic cotton, Bonsoirs founder Nicolas Morschl explained in a recent podcast.

Transparency is essential for modern consumers who do not hesitate to switch to competitor brands if disappointed by a brand’s actions or values. Many also prefer local distribution channels, as well as responsible and ethical production channels. According to a study conducted by Kantar in 2020, some 64% of French people favored local suppliers for purchases in 2020. The trend does not only affect France: all over the world, consumers are looking for transparency in their consumption.

In March 2022, CapGemini conducted a survey that highlighted that 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that offers full transparency. DNVBs have been among the first to capitalize on this value and work twice as hard to be as transparent as possible. One of the first DNVBs to follow this path was American clothing brand Everlane (1m followers on Instagram), which was founded as a fully transparent and sustainable luxury fashion brand. Everlane was one of the first to reveal the behind-the-scenes production of a garment by showing cost breakdown for the different elements. Today, brands don’t hesitate to detail, using receipts, the various costs involved in producing products; clothing brand Maison Cléo (126K followers on Instagram) for example, published its average production ticket to justify the prices of its handmade pieces.

Today, 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key differentiator that leads to a purchase decision, with the figure rising to 90% among Millennials. This growing need for transparency and authenticity is felt by both DNVBS and their communities, and enables them to meet on common ground. More transparency, more authenticity and more proximity are the real keys to the success of these companies that are flourishing around the world. DNVB founders are open about their doubts and difficulties encountered in establishing their companies. French DNVB Le Slip Français created a playlist on its YouTube channel called «Slip Français Adventures» to share the company’s journey. In the series of videos on entrepreneurship, founder Guillaume Gibault provides his tips and lessons learned for budding entrepreneurs. Such moves go a long way to demonstrating a company’s transparency and authenticity for customers who expect nothing less.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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