What is a Lifestyle Brand?
Today’s consumers are evolving from responding positively to traditional advertising to seeing it as a negative – or barely seeing it at all. We don’t want to be pushed into a purchase by a glossy advertising headline or online pop-up, we want to make our own choices and buy from (or aspire to buy from) brands which really engage with us on a personal level.
This means that brands have to create loyalty, be authentic, and build trust. Lifestyle brands are particularly successful at doing this, building communities of followers and advocates who respect and value what the brand stands for, and in turn share their message.
What exactly is a lifestyle brand?
Lifestyle brands create the vision and feelings of the specific lifestyle their consumers aspire to.
Simply put, a lifestyle brand creates products, services and – critically – stories based on the lifestyle its consumers aspire and desire to live. They know that generally, day-to-day life can be fairly ‘normal’. While we may be enjoying ourselves at work and with our families and friends, we all have desires, wishes, and aspirations that we think will make our lives better. Lifestyle brands connect with these feelings and show us a more ideal version of ourselves – one that we can be if we make some small changes to our lives, buy certain products, eat different foods, exercise more, etc.
The definition of a lifestyle brand is that it taps into and influences our emotions, aspirations and ideologies. Lifestyle brands create a connection that embeds their brand into our personal identity and creates a sense of belonging to a community or a mindset we admire. They don’t sell high heels, they convince consumers that they can be high-flying business women – and that their brand can support them.
They are the brands we follow on social media even if we don’t own anything they sell (yet). We follow them because we feel like they represent something about us and the people we want to associate with.
This is key. A lifestyle brand has a very deep understanding of their target consumers’ way of life; not just their demographics, but their psychographics. They understand the types of experiences they crave, as well as the people, places and things that motivate and inspire them – and tailor their brand accordingly. Without this knowledge, they could not evoke an emotional connection, create desire, or inspire their audience.
The ultimate goal of a lifestyle brand is that their products contribute to the definition of their consumers’ way of life.
How do lifestyle brands create loyalty?
Lifestyle brands know what their consumers want from life – the things they want to buy, what they want to achieve, and the type of person they desire to be. That knowledge means they can tailor their brand experience and content to exactly what their audience wants. This is massively powerful for the brand, and empowering for us as consumers – lifestyle brands give us ideas, things, people, and experiences that inspire us.
No matter the industry or product, lifestyle brands embody the values, beliefs, aspirations, and attitudes of their particular target audience. They create a ‘subculture’ around their brand, and engrain it, along with their product, service, and story into their consumers’ way of life. These types of brands are on the rise as consumers demand more than being sold to – they want a lifestyle rather than a one-off product purchase. It’s no longer just about owning a Rolex, it’s about living the lifestyle of someone who owns a Rolex.
7 things all lifestyle brands have in common
Lifestyle brands all have common characteristics regardless of the type of business they are or in which industry they operate. They all:
- Connect with a niche audience – and know what makes that audience tick.
- Have a devoted, highly engaged following.
- Answer an emotional desire.
- Are respected and trusted by their target audience, and inspire loyalty.
- Create content that’s about more than just their products.
- Have a focused product development process that concentrates on what’s important to their target audience.
- Add a sprinkling of perfection to your life.
Lifestyle brands also know that purchase decisions are emotional rather than logical. If the purchase is an aspirational one, it comes from the heart rather than the head.
Examples of lifestyle brands
Successful lifestyle brands have gained the trust and advocacy of their audience by showing them that it’s possible to become a better or more ideal version of ourselves (with their help, of course). These brands are from widely varying industries, just as we as individuals have widely varying aspirations and values. These lifestyle brands are on point right now:
- Drybar The Drybar concept is pretty simple: being the best at blowouts. Blowout salons are springing up everywhere, but Drybar is the one that really resonates with their audience. Why? Well, their service is exemplary, they use content to amplify their client-centric style, they have strong brand messaging and personal, authentic social media content which engages their audience, and their product range is a big hit.
- Equinox Fitness Equinox is a luxury fitness company encompassing different fitness brands in locations around the world. It’s the added extras that make their brand aspirational – a juice bar, magazine, spa, merchandise, and luxury lounges appeal to the lifestyle of a wealthy, exercise-happy, well-travelled individual who expects the exceptional service Equinox provides.
- Sperry Boat shoe brand Sperry recently 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.
Not only are these brands successfully appealing to their consumers, but they are also differentiating themselves from their competitors in ways which are difficult to duplicate. They inspire loyalty from their consumers regardless of price, because changing to a different brand would essentially mean being untrue to our values and ethos.
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 help your lifestyle brand.