Recently, a prominent creative in the advertising industry gave a guest lecture in one of my classes. What captured my attention most during the lecture was when he told us that he didn’t know of any companies that had been built solely on digital.
This stunned me because I could think of multiple brands that grown their business solely on digital platforms. A former creative director at DDB, his mind what set on mega-corporations such as Apple or Coca Cola. This made me wonder – does digital have to create an iconic brand in order to be considered a valid platform for company growth? Or does its opportunities lie in the fact that it evens the corporate playing ground, allowing small businesses to achieve high levels of success? Thanks to my entrepreneurial spirit, what excites me most about social media is the latter.
Here are four brands that I admire for their digital strategy:
Ruche: What started as a post-grad hobby selling clothing and jewelry on eBay eventually grew into an online boutique with an established online community. Co-founders Mai and Josh Olivo have immersed their brand in the fashion blogger community, becoming a favorite shopping destinations of many bloggers and their readers.
Freshly Picked: Susan Petersen of Freshly Picked has managed to turn what started as a handmade baby moccasin business into a multi-million dollar company. Her secret? She’s built her entire following for free on Instagram without spending a dime on advertising.
Stitch Fix: In an attempt to revolutionize the online shopping experience, Katrina Lake has capitalized on the trillion dollar “mommy market” with her personalized monthly clothing boxes. Lake established a mutually beneficial relationship with mommy bloggers, a four million strong community of powerful brand ambassadors who blog about their adventures in parenting. For more on Lake’s impressive digital strategy, see this Forbe’s article.
Rifle Paper Co: Anna Bond’s stationary company began as a small business out of her and her husband’s garage apartment in 2009 and has quickly become an international brand. Bond told The Everygirl, “We’ve never done any advertising, and our biggest marketing has been through blogs and press writing about our products. I had a blog and was using social media when we launched, and I also think that helped gain a loyal following before we even had one thing for sale.”
Tell me what you think! Does digital have to create an iconic brand in order to be considered a valuable strategy? Or has it already proved itself by allowing small businesses to thrive by creating a community around their brand?