Brian chats with Melanie Travis, founder of Andie Swim. How has COVID affected Andie and similar direct to consumer brands? How might we shift our approach from product-centered advertising to building a direct brand-to-consumer relationship? 

MELANIE AND THE CREATION OF ANDIE SWIM

Melanie tells her history and experiences building up to creating Andie. Melanie’s experiences with brand storytelling and customer acquisition lead her to testing the waters for Andie with advertisements to feel out the market with her first 400 swimsuits, growing Andie into what it is today.

ANDIE DURING COVID-19

Swim season is approaching but COVID initially had revenue falling off for Andie. They responded by cutting back on ads and converting to a day-by-day strategy with employees working remotely to find ways to resonate with customers in the current climate.

  • Consumer demand roared back given that consumers shop 100% digitally during COVID.
  • It’s been proposed that direct to consumer brands were disappearing, but there was a 180 shift into eCommerce during COVID.

LEARNING TRANSPARENCY

  • Andie backed out of diversifying into a physical retail experience and started incorporating less traditional marketing strategies - more community-centric working with transparent storytelling in order to resonate with consumers.
  • To directly establish one-on-one relationships with its customers, Andie used less social marketing and shifted to more email and SMS.
  • Andie launched a niche product during COVID - a maternity line of swimsuits - in which they kept promotional materials more personal by having close friends and family of employees participate in the photos for the launch.
  • By doing so, the brand identity of Andie shifted to being more transparent, more community-driven, and more personal - which will stick around post-COVID.

COMMUNITY BUILDING AND BRAND-TO-CONSUMER RELATIONSHIPS

  • Brands can have their employees perform duties outside of their traditional job roles to cultivate a more creative community of ideas in the workplace. 
  • SMS and email are great ways to have one-on-one conversations with your consumers in order to build trust, transparency, and a closer brand-to-consumer bond.
  • Especially in the time of COVID-19, brands can transform their identity from community-centered physical retail experiences into a digital community bound through mutual connection - making brands less focused on selling products and more focused on building a community.


BRANDS MENTIONED:

Andie Swim

Radically Personal Podcast