Life is about experience, and we all want more of it. What today’s most popular lifestyle brands need to bring to consumers is bigger, better, bolder and more distinct experiences. With everyone from Lego, which is said to be using the forthcoming 3D film to create a ‘lifestyle brand’ for children, to Green & Black’s re-launching, reframing and redesigning themselves as a premium lifestyle brand, it’s important that brands remain crystal clear about what is at their heart before extending into lifestyle territory. The increasing number and variety of brands in this lifestyle category has the potential to confuse the consumer and negate aspects of the brand offer. It’s not about brands not entering this space, but it is about understanding what the definition of lifestyle means to you and your audience and, most importantly, imagining the future iteration of lifestyle and being able to create it while staying true to your brand.
Before we go any further, however, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves the question: just what is a lifestyle brand?
What is a lifestyle brand?
Lifestyle brands are brands that market their products and/or services in a way that appeals to the hobbies, opinions and interests of their target market. In order to do this, lifestyle brands forego traditional marketing tactics in favour of trying to represent the values and attitudes held by certain groups and key demographics.
Icons like Ralph Lauren were the true pioneers of the lifestyle brand movement, giving us an aspirational and aesthetic tableau to work with. Traditional lifestyle brands are all about a singular and clearly defined image, with a strong philosophy, specific set of values and distinct style that come from a specific individual. Thanks to clever marketing, consumers idealize these individuals as lifestyle perfection and these brands offer consumers a way to purchase a slice of it.
Taking a slightly different angle, brands like Jamie Oliver or IKEA are good examples of a growing number who are reinventing the lifestyle brand, bringing consumers closer to the brand by re-focusing aspiration around ‘real life’ lifestyles and an exploration of individuality. We believe that the next generation of top lifestyle brands will come from a much wider arena than simply individuals whose lives and products we want. We will be looking to a whole new raft of influences who have an attitude and philosophy that can easily convert to compelling lifestyle brands. But these brands must make sure to offer consumers the same focus, razor sharp brand awareness, and desire as the most successful single-offer brands of today.
The lifestyle journey has begun to deliver us from cookie-cutter to the carefully curated, and now to a new, next generation of closeness and original creativity. Today, we have begun to treat brands as having personalities of their own. It’s incredibly important for them to recognize this shift as their identity becomes increasingly holistic, and to continue to fulfil consumer expectations by expressing these personalities on multiple platforms, in a way that consumers can still relate to and emotionally engage with. Just as we expect our friends to enrich our lives with their personalities and experiences, we have the same expectations of brands and especially the ones that purport to represent aspirational lifestyles. The brands that can fulfil this will be the ones to shape and own the future of lifestyle branding by not just being another appendage or accessory, but by taking intimacy and integration to a whole new level.
Originally published on Popsop.
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