Branding has been around forever and has always been a vital part of selling a product. That said, today's retail landscape is more reliant on branding than ever before. The advent of the digital age has had numerous effects, some positive for producers and others less so. In the negative category is the proliferation of entertainment options available today. There are a million cable channels, news websites, streaming services, mobile gaming platforms and social media outlets all competing for a customer's attention. In 1900, if you put an ad in the local newspapers you were guaranteed to reach a huge portion of your potential buyers. In 2019, an ad in the local newspaper is unlikely to move the needle in your advertising campaign. To combat audience dispersal, modern companies require a savvy and multifaceted marketing strategy.
Another seismic shift has been the move to online retailers. It's not like the old days when you were confronted by six different versions of the same product on a shelf. Consumers frequently search directly for the product in question, no more browsing. They may check several sites looking for the best price, but in each case they already have the brand they want in mind. If people don't know your name ahead of time, you're out of luck.
On the positive side of the balance is the ability to interact directly with your customer base. You are no longer limited by having to work at arm's reach- you can sell direct to consumer if you choose and pocket the retail markup for yourself.
Against this backdrop is the rise of brand-driven companies that have seen their market caps explode. A great example is Kylie Jenner's cosmetic line. As a member of the Kardashian family she had a built- in brand that she has been able to leverage into a billion dollar company in just a couple of years. It should be noted that this brand has been built by very effective cross-platform efforts, from television shows to magazine articles, plus a heavy dose of social media.
Click on the link to see a profile of one of our portfolio companies in the Brand Marketing segment.