How to become a lifestyle brand?

Brands need to show their values, philosophy and experiences

Traditional brands used to look for a distinguished name, an innovative proposal, popularity and trust of clients. All this, through the magical hand of advertising, should help with becoming a relevant and recognizable company. However, it is not that simple.

A lot has changed since brands were able to catch people’s’ attention through catchy jingles and provoking claims on newspapers. Nowadays brands need to show their values, philosophy and experiences to its clients: they must represent their lifestyle and aspirations. A lifestyle brand defines and conveys an image with a strong style to individuals of a chosen segment, which represents a certain way of living, specific values, something to look forward. In this case, purchasing a product or service, means adhering to a set of values, aspirations, interests, attitudes and opinions.

How to create a lifestyle brand

Building this emotional relation, which enables the client to interpret the brand as a way of defining himself/herself, is a long process. Here are some guidelines on how to create a lifestyle brand which maintains a connection between company and client:

1. Dive into the culture and stay.

The goal is to support an identity and a culture, constantly. An audience won’t feel part of the brand if the campaign is run on TV and YouTube just during the summer period. A lifestyle brand goes deeper and also looks for the people of the segment, shows up in social events, listens to customers needs and fulfills them over the years.

Red Bull had built a powerful corporate identity and used to advertise through a different media, but they knew that it wasn’t enough. Thus the energy drinks’ brand challenged people of their segment to share a unique philosophy: to run, climb, jump into dangerous places, and to share that exciting feeling; this way, step by step, they managed to build a well recognizable lifestyle brand.

Red Bull 400 Whistler

Its soda friend Coca Cola is also known for a huge investment in advertising, which focuses on the ideas and feelings of happiness, youth and freshness. A part from conveying all these values through their commercials, they organize sponsored music events, like the Coca Cola Summer Festival, whose objective is to gather Coca Cola and music lovers together, to share and to enjoy the euphoria they perceive through the ads.

Coca-Cola Music Experience Festival

Another example of perseverance and closeness to the target during the years is Dove. The beauty and healthcare brand’s commercials always highlight the universality of beauty, the importance of self-love, of feeling good no matter the age, the weight, the appearance; a raised mission goes beyond the product itself. Dove narrates a story that resonates with the audience: they don’t bring just a good product, but they offer a message which is closely related to their consumers.

Dove Real Beauty Campaign

2. Show the experience

Lifestyle brands create emotional storytellings even if the product is not shown in the ads. Experiences and activities create bigger associations with the lifestyle while the product can take a more subtle approach on backgrounds, with branding colors and elements.

Apples most known ad “1984” didn’t show on any moment the product but told the story of an unnamed heroine, who represented the coming of the Macintosh, saving humanity from conformity. Even though Apple advertisements are more technical nowadays, the brand settled down from its beginning what are the main brand and its audience values today. Furthermore, their own shop generates unforgettable experience, with a simple design, friendly, innovative and stylish products.

Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial

On the other hand, the luxury automotive brand BMW built its own strategy in selling the best possible experience for driving. It wasn’t about buying a good car but all about living the road and enjoying the driving, simply saying not just for moving but for a pleasure.

BMW Ultimate Driving Experience Campaign

3. Bring people together for a meaning

Facilitating interaction among the audience members with activities and championships is necessary to make a distinction from other brands and it’s a great exercise which helps brands to establish culture and formulate their union.

Harley Davidson is seen as a community of motorbike riders around a nation cemented under an iconic lifestyle of friendship and fraternity on the road. The brand organized special meetings to encounter all fans who realized that they were born in different places and had different jobs and statuses, but they all shared the same passion and were united by a common goal of reaching freedom with their motorbikes.

Harley-Davidson Daytona Bike Week 2018

Besides, Nike has created a Nike+ community where the fitness community meets and shares their lifestyles by uploading to the app their workout results and comparing with other members. An association like this is much more motivational than just wearing the product.

Nike Run Club App

4. Build not a product but a symbol

A brand to remember responds to society’s desires and culture. The shape, flavour, design or way of use must be automatically recognisable in a product which looks to turn into iconic. Symbols are important constituents of a brand meaning, they suggest ideas and values, they make the difference from other brands and send a considerably stronger message to the right audience.

Oreo is a cookie known all over the world. It won an differentiated space in the sector because of its innovative shape and the way that must be taken from opening it, licking it and dipping it into the milk until it is finally allowed to eat it. Such concept that perfectly combines friendship, family, close relations and joy in front of a breakfast table.

Oreo Wonderfilled Campaign

5. Know well your consumer

Finally, after seeing all the guidelines for building a lifestyle brand, we have to remember that the most important thing in every case is to know well your consumer. Even though you’ve already decided what kind of values, culture, target you want to represent and inspire, make sure you know well your audience. Do some research on your consumers’ values, aspirations, opinions, habits and behaviours, collect data, get their insights and try to understand what values they respond best to, and what they don’t appreciate. It’s not just about selling a lifestyle, but ultimately, it’s about meeting your target latent needs.

Elevating an already existing concept 

All things considered, sometimes building a lifestyle brand starts by changing an already existing concept into a bigger movement of self-expression or by a product repositioning, aligning it to the characteristics that the society at the moment lacks indeed. It’s just necessary to wonder about what is really iconic in your brand and focus in your brands’ purpose.

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