Article, Beauty

The Emergence of Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs)

The first Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs) appeared in 2007-2008, when the second generation of e-commerce sites emerged. From 2008 to 2012, social media began to take hold and brands began to appeal to consumers by creating “digital tribes” based on their products. This was a true revolution for the fashion and cosmetics markets.

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6 Jan 2021

The very first DNVB, Bonobos, was founded by Andy Dunn in the United States in 2007. This men’s apparel brand offers a much greater variety of sizes and cuts than the competition. The power of DNVBs is therefore in their capacity to quickly develop a “customer-centric” brand while using technology (it all happens online) to form a vertical chain of value: direct sales to clients with no middle-man who could compromise the brand image.

DNVB, Indie brands, influencer brands… How can you tell them apart?

A DNVB is a digital start-up that generates growth through its capacity to recuperate data and place the client at the center of its decision-making process. It conducts sales principally online. An Indie brand is also digitally based, through social networks, but it does not use the development tools of an Internet start-up, and particularly data technology. Its growth is generated by physical sales. As for production modes, DNVBs often employ their own tools and develop their own patents, which is rarer for Indie brands whose financial means are more limited. The indie strategy is more focused on packaging and the use of influencers and paid marketing to gain recognition, while DNVBs develop through natural referencing by massively developing high-quality content and relying on user-generated content (UGC).

As for influencer brands, these are also known as “Instabrands”. A company develops a brand and calls on an influencer – or vice-versa – who relies on his or her community of Instagram followers to generate sales quickly and massively. The whole marketing campaign is designed for digital media, since the great majority of purchases are made online. For example: Kylie Cosmetics, created by Kylie Jenner, an influencer with 180 million followers and therefore large client base. DNVB, Indie brands and Instabrands all rely on social networks and word-of-mouth to develop quickly.

Portrait of an Indie brand: Alexis Robillard’s ALL TIGERS

At ALL TIGERS, Alexis Robillard, CEO & Founder, decided to launch his natural, vegan lipstick brand in 2017. The project was co-constructed with the products’ future users. The community – today 15,000 people strong – approves each of the brand’s decisions, from lipstick shades to formulas to packaging. ALL TIGERS addresses a true consumer need for trendy, high-quality makeup that is not harmful for health.

The ALL TIGERS brand, which has been active for a year and a half, is already present in 300 points of sale in 10 countries, and its sales are continually rising. It has made a place for itself by asserting strong values such as transparency, respect for the environment, and feminism. From formulation to packaging, everything is conceived in an eco-friendly way, and 1% of turnover goes to an association protecting tigers in the wild. This is also what could be called a “mission brand”, a positive brand that brings a true change to the market.

Meanwhile, DNVBs such as Nidé.co shape their offers to correspond with consumer demands, even entrusting one of them with the creation of her own product in cooperation with the brand (which entitles her to collect 10% on sales).

By playing on transparency, these dynamic little brands are challenging the codes of the cosmetics industry, positioning themselves as “game changers.” At a time when consumers are seeking brands aligned with their values above all else, they expect a brand to assume a societal position. Glossier, for example, made a $1 Million donation to the Black Lives Matter cause. Changing the world before selling products: a new order, and an opportunity for all brands.

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