Companies, advertisers, and marketing professors often speak of their ability to deliver “unique experiences”, but what does it actually mean to build a lifestyle brand? As consumers, we are increasingly pushing for more experiences to share and embrace, and therefore expecting brands to go further than to just market their product, but to market a lifestyle. This is where lifestyle branding comes in: Lifestyle brands want to engage with a wider audience by appealing to their interests, attitudes, and opinions, aspiring to give their consumers bigger, better, bolder and more distinct experiences.
To enter and remain consistent in the lifestyle branding category, brands must be clear about their values in order to connect with the correct audience and accordingly produce the right experiences. Staying ahead of consumer changes is essential; this is achievable by adopting an agile brand strategy and considering trends as early as possible to determine developing demands.
Examples of successful lifestyle brands include Airbnb, Rapha, Tesla. These brands synonymously reflect their customers’ busy lives by offering services and experiences different to the rest of the market.
Here are some rules to follow to distinguish the difference between “delivering unique experiences” and creating a legitimate lifestyle brand:
Establish your Footprint
Desires, wants and needs of consumers have advanced – to stay ahead and be known as a future brand, brands need to be flexible and have a future-focused mindset. It’s important to continuously anticipate consumer needs before they become the norm. Bringing new trends into fruition pushes brands into the limelight and gives consumers something new to be a part of. Experiences need to be marketed as aspirational, inspirational and educational. Amazon is successfully pioneering at anticipating consumer needs and wants with the services such as: Amazon Dash, Amazon Go and Now – meeting consumers needs almost instantly.
Evolve the story
Luxury commodities are no longer defined by products alone, brands are now promoting luxury through premium experiences and interactive, personalised services. Companies that are adapting to this demand are seeing growth and customer loyalty, speaking to consumers through new experiences. From retina scanning, private exercise getaways and premium lounges – the more exclusive, the more consumers crave it.
Transparency is required by brands; no longer do consumers want just a product and a logo – they want to buy into brands that have a personality and social values. Brands need to showcase their product journey, their ethical values and allow consumers behind the scenes of the company culture in order to gain customer loyalty. This leaves the consumer to choose a product to suit their lifestyle values, as well as to fulfil a demand.
Create a community
The sharing economy is thriving, influenced by the likes of Airbnb, Uber and Deliveroo. Brands should embrace this; it is a macro trend that has seen yearly consumer and brand growth for the last couple of years, and therefore shows no signs of slowing down. Innovation is key to the community lifestyle: brands need to aim to connect to consumers’ lifestyles and accordingly adapt to their ethos and attitudes through analytics and behavioural learning.
Consumers’ busy lifestyles allow them to thrive with connectivity and thus belong to a community of like-minded individuals, whether this is achieved by social media or experiences in reality. Therefore, brands have the potential to utilise this growth and desire through omni-channel interaction. Products remain at the core, but to survive and create loyalty, brand extensions need to evolve. Experiences and such like should be offered to cater to the needs and desires of consumers. Creating experiences that are unknown territory consequently creates a new marketplace to explore and capture, which then has the potential to create a new community and open up an entirely new platform. Once you’ve mastered this, the opportunities are endless.
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