Being a Luxury Lifestyle Brand: A Look at the Lure, Power, and Keys to Success
If you think you should be a “ lifestyle brand ”, you’re absolutely right! The concept of engaging your customer’s lifestyle as a means to sell your products and services is more important than ever in today’s heavily saturated and rapidly changing market.
But what exactly does this mean, and how can you capitalize on the lifestyle potential of your brand without diluting it and confusing your customers? I am no brand expert by any means, but I am a research nut and have spent endless hours engaged with brands of all walks; I currently work for what I see as a flourishing lifestyle brand; and I am completely con dent when I say I can speak knowledgeably on the topic to say the very least. So here you have it!
A Lifestyle Brand Defined:
According to Stefania Saviolo and Antonio Marazza, authors of Lifestyle Brands: A Guide to Aspirational Marketing, “a lifestyle brand is a company that markets its products or services to embody the interests, attitudes, and opinions of a group or a culture. Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer’s way of life.”
Let’s narrow this definition a bit and focus on a luxury lifestyle brand. These high-end, exclusive brands set themselves apart through their uniqueness, specialty appeal, innovation, quality craftsmanship, and authenticity. They engage their customers by portraying their brands through content and experiences as purveyors and curators of the luxury lifestyle their clients live, or aspire to live.
Breaking Down the Elements of a Lifestyle Brand:
There are two types of lifestyle brands. There are those that use creative marketing tactics to enhance their consumers’ way of life and gain brand loyalty. And there are those that use the same marketing tactics, but further embed themselves in their target audience’s worlds by expanding their offerings with additional products and experiences.
Apparel brands are most known for expanding their offerings into new categories, followed by home and interior brands. Having a designer’s name attached to a variety of services and products helps clients be even more loyal — they see the designer as a fashion and design resource, a trusted voice. When it comes to interior design businesses, the lifestyle potential is ripe for the picking if executed correctly. The lifecycle of design projects and the level of personal involvement with clients call for brand extensions. Clients rely on their designers’ expert opinion, if they say buy this chair I made over someone else’s the client will probably assume they like it.
New York City; Source: Photo by Foundry / Pixabay.com
To help illustrate the concept of a lifestyle brand, here are a few key players. These first three have mastered multi- channel lifestyle brand status.
Ralph Lauren: A pioneer of the lifestyle brand movement and arguably the most iconic luxury lifestyle brand in history, Ralph Lauren offers fashion and home decor products that embody the lifestyle of upper-class American refinement. Buy Ralph Lauren — live the aristocratic life.
Kelly Wearstler: World-renowned interior designer, Kelly Wearstler has built one of the most powerful lifestyle brands in the design industry. Stunning interiors and unique decor and gift products seamlessly exude the charismatic Kelly Wearstler vibe.
Armani: Perhaps the luxury lifestyle brand offering the most rounded selection of products, services, and experiences. From clothing and accessories to home decor and hotels and bars, Armani strives to engage their customers in a world of luxurious beauty and sophistication.
The next three, including our very own KOKET, focus on their core products and gain their lifestyle brand status by engaging and enhancing their customers lives through creative, loyalty building marketing tactics.
KOKET: A budding lifestyle brand, KOKET has amassed a loyal following of design lovers through the fostering of its target audience’s community and staying true to its heart in all its endeavors. Love Happens mag is an extension of the KOKET lifestyle brand created to continually engage and delight its customers.
Nike: From clothing and footwear to sports equipment and the Nike+ community app, Nike has embedded itself deeply in the world of fitness. Known for their non-product focused ad campaigns featuring top athletes and engaging storytelling, Nike strives to motivate and empower athletes, rather than just out fitting them with athletic wear.
Apple: User-friendly, stylish, and innovative, members of the Apple cult are drawn in by design, an aura of creativity, symbolic status, and high-touch service and they remain loyal thanks to brand consistency and the allure of the Apple “good life.” With ads focused on who you are when using Apple products versus the products themselves, and out- of-the-box, ahead of the curve thinking, Apple is a lifestyle.
Kristen Shoates of The A Group sums up the many qualities of lifestyle brands beautifully in her article “What Is a Lifestyle Brand?”: “A lifestyle brand owns, elicits and represents emotions, values, identities and aspirations of its users. It speaks to the human experience beyond just the problem the product solves or the solution the brand offers. It helps people express who they are and empowers them to be who they want to be. Most of us have deep loyalty to these brands regardless of price; after all, to switch would be untrue to ourselves.”
If you don’t already see all the benefits of being a lifestyle brand, the massive millennial generation’s draw toward lifestyle marketing approaches such as engaging storytelling should seal the deal. Even if they may not be your target consumer just yet, or if you are still focusing solely on your core offering, millennials and the fact that, according to Forbes, only 1% of this generation say that an advertisement helps them trust a brand, should make it very clear that this group’s preferences are not ones to ignore!
Keys to Success:
So how exactly does one successfully grow their business into a lifestyle brand? First and most importantly, your core business must be done exceptionally well, you must stay true to your roots, and you must communicate exactly what you stand for in everything you do. Your essence should ring clear to your target customers before extending into lifestyle territory.
Once you have mastered your core business, begin spreading lifestyle messages in your advertising and social media campaigns. Use the power of storytelling and feature your audience’s activities more prominently than your products to associate your brand with their lifestyle. But be careful not to be too indirect or get too distracted, remember the purpose of marketing is to drive sales. Your goal should be to engage your consumers, make them feel connected to you and help them to feel the authority of your opinions so they want to buy from you.
After you have perfected your lifestyle marketing methods, you can begin to expand your product offerings. Keep in mind that each expansion should always be able to stand alone while still embodying the spirit of your brand. The market is saturated with products, especially in the fashion and home goods industries, so if you don’t have something unique or special to offer and if it feels forced or like a commodity rather than an authentic evolution of your core, it won’t be successful. And in some cases, it may even back re on you by completely alienating your loyal customers.
And finally, if expanding to offer experiences makes sense for your brand, and you have the wherewithal and manpower to pull it off well, go forth!
To successfully grow your business into a luxury lifestyle brand and fully immerse your consumers in your world, go slow, be patient, act carefully, and stay true to your roots.
Be inspired by more articles in LOVE HAPPENS VOLUME 2!
words by: Anna Bimba
Article Originally Appeared in Love Happens Volume 2, 2018