The evolution of direct-to-consumer brands

This article is part of a series of articles on the evolution of direct-to-consumer brands. Read more.

Direct-to-consumer brands are “shaking up retail”. They are “disrupting CPG”. They are “killing the big brands” and, in the words of Terry Kawaja of LUMA Partners, they are the reason you need to “Fire your CMO”.

The headlines are alarmingly impressive for a +20-year-old channel where no one can agree on the name. DTC, d2c, DNVBs (Digitally-native vertical brands), Instabrands, digital-private-label…the explosion of terms is on a par with the proliferation of products and brands in the brave new dis-intermediated marketplace.

Whenever someone claims that [X] is going to kill [Y], or [A] is going to disrupt the entire [B] category or [C] industry, the answer is often "maybe but not in the way you think". Video did not kill the radio star or else I wouldn't be sitting on nagging recommendations to listen to several hundred Podcasts.