MAKING THE LEAP TO LIFESTYLE BRAND
Don’t take it personally. Most brands are having trouble increasing engagement with their pop-ups and online ads. That is, everyone except Lifestyle Brands. Some have even proven they can forego them all together, continue attracting repeat buyers, and circumvent the 83% of consumers who say they would block all ads if they could.
How do they manage? Simple. Lifestyle brands are experienced experts. They’re also skilled at identifying their target audience’s deepest cravings and motivating purchasing habits. They use this decidedly personal data to facilitate experiential and emotional connections that engender respect and loyalty from their customers.
So how do these harbingers of inspiration align themselves with culture and promise to help their customers achieve their personal bests? Here are some rules of the road to help you make the leap to a lifestyle brand.
Rule #1 it’s not a product, it’s a way of life
Here’s where a traditional product-first marketing strategy can derail you. Lifestyle brands understand that it’s less about expressly selling products than it is about illustrating how said product can enrich their customer’s lives. In some cases the product may take a backseat entirely, allowing the experience to remain the focal point. Try reverse engineering your marketing plan to prioritize the day-to-day life of your average buyer then figure out how you can connect with and improve it.
Rule #2 you don’t have to be a luxury brand to be a lifestyle brand
If Sour Patch Kids has taught us anything it’s that there’s no requirement that says you have to be a luxury brand to qualify as a lifestyle brand. A few years ago they launched a genius lifestyle marketing plan centering around “The Patch”, a crash pad for musicians in two major music markets: Austin and Brooklyn. Bands were welcome to stay so long as they shared their experience with fans on social media. In doing so, SPK were able to infuse themselves into a hotbed of hip that existed long before the gummies were making mouths water.
Rule #3 align yourself with ideal identities
Self-improvement is often an element of your customer’s ideal identity. Whether that be more altruistic and green, fit and healthy, or creative and adventurous your brand should exemplify what it means to embody said traits. Subaru does a particularly good job of this. Not only are their cars designed to stand up to the great outdoors, they also have a huge charity component. Their Share the Love event crystalizes their spirit of giving, but they also uphold these standards to the smallest detail (can you say composted coffee grounds?).
Rule #4 create a community
So, you’ve solidified your identity and created a compelling brand story that shows customers how you’ll be of service to their long-term goals and values. Now it’s time to get a community rallied around it. At this stage in the game, remember that a little strategic influencer marketing never hurt anyone. In fact, they kind of go hand-in-hand. Just be sure to do your research before reaching out to any lifestyle bloggers. You want to make sure they’re sending the right message to the right target audience.
Rule #5 invest in those invested in your brand
Apple does this well. Since 2009 they have hosted an annual iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) ceremony, granting prizes in multiple categories from architecture to sunsets. In this way, their product is really secondary to the creativity of their users, which in turn becomes the main attraction. By encouraging photographers of all to skill sets to submit, they’re rewarding and investing in those that are most loyal to the brand.
In short, today’s most successful brands have discovered the secret sauce to becoming a well-known lifestyle brand focuses far less on pushing product and concentrates its efforts on ideas and ideals.
Still not sure how to make the leap? Let us help you ascent from basic business to the way of life.