What Communications Professionals Can Learn from Today’s Leading Direct-to-Consumer Brands

Public relations today requires more authenticity than ever before, and some of the biggest direct-to-consumer companies from Warby Parker to Casper are adopting a new mindset to communications to drive their brands forward.

With roughly $4 billion in venture capital (VC funding) having been pumped into DTC brands, it’s safe to say the DTC explosion is real.

Kite Hill PR CEO and Founder Tiffany Guarnaccia joined Meredith Klein, director of media and public relations for Jet.com, at this year’s PRSA Corporate Communications Conference for a fireside chat discussion on how industry leaders can adopt the DTC mindset to communicate more authentically and effectively with their consumers. 

The discussion also focused on strategies Klein has implemented to boost Jet’s approach to PR, from using a technique called key message penetration to measure PR success to using chemistry meetings as a way to vet PR agencies and ultimately create more impactful, integrated programs. As part of her measurement technique, Klein would identify two to three key messages with the goal of achieving 100 percent penetration in over half of Jet’s coverage; if over half of coverage could consistently refer to the company’s mission, Klein said this would elevate Jet’s awareness as a superior shopping experience for customers. Klein also argued that authentic communications professionals do their research on their consumer and get deep into analytics to understand them better. 

Throughout the chat, Klein stressed the need for PR professionals to be real in their communications in order to be relatable. “If you’re relatable, you will form a trust for your brand, which will in turn gain loyalty from your desired consumers,” she said. 

Having worked on Jet’s rebrand in 2018, Klein discussed the company’s new focus on urban consumers who live in large metro cities and acknowledging the difficulty to break out in the New York market. She organized an event known as the Jet Townhouse in which attendees were able to walk through a mock house that contained a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and beyond each equipped with Jet merchandise to visually bring the Jet customer’s experience to life. Reporters who attended were able to understand how Jet integrates into their everyday lives. As a result of this campaign, Jet engaged over 100 journalists to attend along with leading influencers to bring Jet into the consumer consideration set. 

Guarnaccia and Klein wrapped up the chat by sharing three ways professionals can adopt this mindset for their own programs. By keeping personalization top of mind, using an authentic voice and leveraging emerging technology, you can ensure your brand will break through the noise and not be left behind. And above all, don’t be afraid to shake up your go-to publications and spread the love for your brand.

- Mike Siegel, Account Manager