Influencer marketing can be a particularly successful channel for lifestyle brands, whose aim is to symbolize the aspirations and values of their target audience. Lifestyle brands want to create a brand subculture and become part of their consumers’ way of life, and this can be more achievable using influencers rather than through direct forms of lifestyle marketing.
What is influencer marketing?
First, let’s look more closely at the hot topic of influencer marketing. Influencers are able to inspire and motivate their audience, moving them down the path to purchase your products. They do this through a combination of reach, credibility, and trust…and of course, sales skills in getting their audience to the point of purchase. Influencers are often:
- Social media influencers
- Professional experts
Many lifestyle brands are already using the channels in which influencer marketing is most successful, such as social, YouTube, and blogs.
Why is influencer marketing successful? The results you’ll get include brand awareness, advocacy, and increased sales – and you’ll normally get these results more quickly.
What is a lifestyle brand?
At its core, a lifestyle brand creates products, services and stories that are founded on the lifestyle its consumers aspire to. These consumers want a lifestyle rather than a single product purchase, and they are savvy about being sold to. They don’t want a sales pitch, they want the vision and feelings of the lifestyle they aspire to – that’s what they buy into.
Lifestyle brands influence our emotions, desires, and opinions. They have exceptional knowledge of their target audience’s way of life; their demographics, but perhaps more importantly their psychographics. They use this knowledge to make an emotional connection, create desire, and inspire.
What influencer marketing means for lifestyle brands
While lifestyle brands certainly extend beyond fashion and beauty, there are some interesting influencer marketing statistics from this industry which should make lifestyle brands from other industries take note.
This report from Econsultancy says that nearly 60% of fashion and beauty brands already have an influencer marketing strategy, with a further 21% planning to invest in influencer marketing over the next year.
Interestingly, this is being driven by consumers who increasingly prefer an authentic, honest opinion over the voice of the brand.
Other observations from this report which all lifestyle brands should consider are:
- Identifying the right marketing influencer can be a lengthy process, but it’s worth the effort.
- Influencers are savvier about who they work with and what they can demand in return.
- The relevance of an influencer to your brand is more important than the reach they have.
Benefits of influencer marketing for lifestyle brands
For any brand, influencer marketing is more than a viable alternative to traditional advertising; it can be more cost-effective and easier to measure while providing credibility and authenticity from a valuable network of brand advocates.
For lifestyle brands specifically, consumers tend to trust lifestyle influencers more than they do the brand – because the influencers are the ones living the lifestyle the consumer aspires to. Additionally, these influencers write about and photograph products in a much more natural and genuine way than the brand can (or would). Even though most consumers are now aware of #sponsored posts and articles, they still trust that the person they’re following really does like and use the product they’re endorsing. Having an influencer marketing strategy is an important part of lifestyle marketing.
How lifestyle brands can maximize influencer marketing
Influencer marketing works, and lifestyle brands can use it to enormous benefit. In order to maximize your strategy, you could consider the following:
Give your influencers a hook
You’ll get the most from an influencer marketing campaign if you can give your influencers something new or unique. If the content is different from everything else, it will get more attention. Think about different ways of using existing products, give influencers an advanced look at new products, and generally be open to them talking about your brand or products in a new or different way. Anything interesting or creative an influencer can use as a hook will make getting to your audience easier.
Work with influencers who already produce amazing content
When you’re looking for lifestyle marketing influencers who are the right fit for your brand, check out their previous content. You want to ensure that your brand stands out, and if your influencer produces great videos, has an interesting tone of voice or takes good shots (or even better, all three), your content is more likely to do well.
Nurture your relationships with influencers
For an influencer to be able to talk passionately, honestly, and authoritatively about your brand, they need to be brought totally on board with your products, ethos, and values. This takes time and a certain amount of trust-building between the brand and the influencer. You will ultimately get better outcomes from an influencer if you can build a strong relationship with them, so you should expect to invest a certain amount of time and resource into getting to know them and figuring out how you’ll work best together.
Not only that, but the influencer also needs time to make an impact for you – it’s unlikely (depending on your brand, industry, and the influencer themselves) that you’ll get instant results from their first content piece. And that’s fine – you can work with the influencer to create ongoing content that will build awareness and conversions from their audience to your brand over time. Think about what your ideal time frame would be, and make sure you track the results.
Give your influencers the freedom to be creative
Lifestyle brands want to work with influencers to give a credible, authentic voice to their products, services, and the brand itself. Their good opinion is where the value lies. If you can give influencers the freedom to show, talk and write about your products in the way they naturally would, it gives more power to their voice. Conversely, if you hit influencers with lots of requirements it can make their work obviously inauthentic – and their audience will know it. Everyone loses; the influencer loses the trust of their audience, your brand loses trust in the product, and the audience goes elsewhere.
Make it personal to your target audience
Aspirational content is likely to motivate consumers who aspire to certain lifestyles, so show them how your product or service will specifically improve their lifestyle. The more relatable and relevant it is to them, the better. Does it make them look better, think better, give them peace of mind, allow them to spend more time at home?
Work with influencers who use the same channels as your target audience
When you’re identifying the influencers you’d like to work with, make sure they occupy the same space as your target audience. You may come across influencers who tick all the right boxes, but if they are YouTube vloggers and your target audience doesn’t use YouTube, you won’t reach the right people and get the results you’re hoping for. You should always work with influencers who use the channels your target audience uses.
Think about your call to action
The sales pitch. Incentives work, even in influencer marketing – just don’t overdo it. A special offer, especially a unique one, is a great call to action and allows the influencer to place their audience on the path to purchase. Special offers also mean it’s easier for you to track the results of your influencer marketing campaigns.
3 great examples of influencer marketing from lifestyle brands
It’s easier to be inspired when you see lifestyle brands who are using influencer marketing to great effect. You can also learn from what they’re doing – one useful lesson is that you don’t need to pay household names to be your influencers. The lifestyle brands in these examples are simply using people they know their audience will relate to and trust. Yes, they will have a good presence on a particular channel, but they aren’t household names.
- Beauty brand Glossier launched in 2014 and its growth is directly down to deeply understanding and digitally engaging its audience, using its own customers as influencers. CEO Harry Davis is the driving force behind this philosophy, saying, “When your friend says, ‘you have to try this thing’, you listen. You cannot buy that much goodwill with all the advertising and the best creatives in the world.”
- Fiji Water worked with fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein and personal trainer Eric Johnson to create the #bodyworewhat campaign. Fitness videos with hydration by Fiji targeted Bernstein’s audience who want to both look and feel like her. Fiji offered 25% off home delivery as an incentivized call to action.
- Boat shoe brand, Sperry, paid relevant female fashion influencers to design an outfit around a pair of their shoes every day for a week, and post the results on Instagram. This campaign resulted in more than 4.7 million impressions, 203,000 likes, and 3,000 comments. Click-throughs from Instagram increased by 66% month on month.
Check out our marketing for lifestyle brands resource for more content on all aspects of lifestyle brands, or call us if you’d like to chat through how LimeLight Marketing can support your brand.