Well Made

Ep. 130 Giving your brand a soul with Emily Singer

September 23, 2020 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

Emily Singer is the creator of the newsletter Chips + Dips. A couple times a month, she shares news about consumer brands and marketing trends, but her insights get deeper than data. She draws perceptive connections amidst brands, but she also gets personal, making the newsletter feel like a DTC diary.

In the newsletter's 26th issue, Emily is four months into the COVID-19 pandemic and reflecting on a shift in perspective and an overall lack of excitement for new brands — How could I get excited about a skincare company’s content strategy when thousands of people were dying and when I, myself, was doing the bare minimum to care for my skin?

Emily wasn't the only one in a brand rut. If you're immersed in the world of DTC ecommerce brands, you may have noticed that many of them fall within certain archetypes. These archetypes are well documented in a Bloomberg article titled Welcome to Your Bland New World. From fonts and photography to mission and story, the opinion piece chronicles similarities that make some of these brands seem downright interchangeable — but maybe similarity is not always a bad thing.

In this episode, Emily reflects on this article, contemplating the comfort of sameness, our human inclination toward trends, why brands have to have soul, and why sometimes, toothpaste should just be toothpaste.

“If you're going to build over time, your brand is going to change over time, and you don't need to have it all figured out and picture perfect on the first day.”

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Emily kicks it off by sharing how the Bloomberg article, Welcome to Your Bland New World tapped in to her own malaise around the DTC world amidst the growing pressures of the pandemic (3:51). The thing that still gets Emily excited about brands is the thing that's always made her excited about her career in DTC marketing — storytelling (9:05).

Stephan and Emily unpack the archetypes in the "bland" article and Emily digs deeper to find potential motives behind the sameness. When is it a strategy and when is it a cop out (10:34)? It all comes down to soul (17:38).

Emily believes that brands with soul, like Diaspora, treat customers as people, not purchases. Some brands can even break the cycle of instant gratification and with transparency, connect consumers with the supply chain (29:59). Finally, Emily shares which brands she thinks are bucking the bland trend and if it's paying off (40:07).


Also mentioned in this episode: 

Innovative brands use Lumi to manage scalable and sustainable packaging.

Learn more →