Many people seem to associate lifestyle brands with influential people, sipping margaritas in Bali or promoting their protein shake while looking great in the gym. However, in the last few years, giant and influential brands like Lego and Green & Black’s are shifting towards lifestyle branding to sell more products and create a more clear brand voice. So what is a lifestyle brand actually and can it be a good fit for your company? If yes, how can you go about building one?
What is a brand?
A brand in general can be seen as the personality of your company. The art of establishing a clear brand image is becoming more and more important since customers are now just a Google away from finding your competition. It is the story you tell in that snapshot of time you have to win someone over.
What makes a brand “lifestyle”?
A lifestyle brand tells the story of the customer and not the product. Simple as that. Nike has always empowered customers by showing them how great they already are. The Nike story is all about joining a community of ambitious people who have the power to achieve anything. Gatorade on the other hand focus on how much your performance can improve if you buy their drinks, see the difference? It is really tempting to focus on why your product is great, but resist the temptation and find a way to motivate and connect with your customers.
Finding your customers
This brings us to one of the most important steps in creating a lifestyle brand, figuring out who will need your product and how you can tell a story they can relate to. This is both about finding potential customers and a way to help you stand apart from your competition. For the beauty and spa company Bliss, giving customers a place to relax and feel good about themselves was worlds apart from the usual beauty salon experience that included “fixing” your looks.
Building a lifestyle brand
Starting with a plan
The key to a successful brand is a plan (and of course following said plan). Once you are clear on your product and who your customers will be, focus on how you can reach them and why they should care.This includes both the visuals you use, like your logo, photography and your packaging, and your messaging. Ben and Jerry Ice cream are a great example of the two working together. From quirky names like Karamel Sutra to their fun-loving illustrations, everything screams fun and delicious. Lifestyle brands are often associated with informal language and personal stories. This does not necessarily mean that you have to speak in the same way that you address your best friend on a night out, but try to avoid corporate language or jargon.
Choosing the right social media platform
With so many options for where and what to post, choose your social media accounts based on where your target audience will be. It is ok to pick a few but stay away from the temptation to use them all. You will never have time to engage with your customers or answer their questions on 10 different accounts.
For data like above: Sproutsocial
Once you have set up your accounts, make sure to claim a few hashtags that will help promote your brand. Keep them simple and on topics your customers care about. Lifestyle brands are all about engagement, so find inclusive hashtags that your users will love to share. Edinburgh Zoo recently used #GiantLantern for people to share their beautiful Lanterns of China exhibition in the zoo and unsurprisingly saw a great response.
Promote your brand
Perhaps the most effective way to gain excited and engaged followers is to team up with influencers and brands that your customers already love. This will serve as a stamp of approval for your brand and will drastically improve your exposure. Influencers are becoming such a key marketing strategy that 67% of marketers have reported that influencers helped then reach their target audience.Brand Ambassadors are a great alternative or addition to influencers. An influencer is typically paid by your company to promote your brand while ambassadors are raving fans or your employees that tell your brand story. If you have a group of early adopters or people working in your business, encourage them to share their experience and engage with their content. Brand ambassadors are even likely to be a bigger fan of your product than before they started promoting it according to the Loyalty Ripple Effect.
Is a lifestyle brand the right fit for you?
Building a lifestyle brand demands a great deal of focus. Despite, or perhaps because of the seemingly endless opportunities to branch out, connect and find new ways to promote your lifestyle brand, keeping a clear message can be harder than it looks. Almost any company can create a lifestyle brand, but if your product is technical or hard to understand, you might have to work a little harder to find the right community. Knowing your customers is important for building any brand, but lifestyle brands need to understand both why customers come to you and how to facilitate interactions between customers.
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