What is a lifestyle brand?
Lifestyle brands; the ones that inspire a way of life, stimulate us to live, breathe, consume and develop our personal aesthetics in a certain way. These are the brands that successfully go beyond offering a functional product or service and become an integral part to achieving a desired way of living life.
When such a brand makes the decision to recruit the talents of a PR, it is crucial for said PR to understand what the lifestyle is that they are selling prior to charging forward with media communications. This is just as important as understanding the functionality of the product or service in question.
Living the lifestyle
Examples of lifestyles that brands may represent and inspire an audience with are the adventurous ones focused on exploring or taking risks, ones that are structured around sustainable living or perhaps it’s championing feminism. In most cases, it is usually a way of life that connects individuals to what they believe is the best version of themselves.
Taking the time to understand this is what will give PRs direct access to the community of people dedicating themselves to that way of life and as a result, will buy into the products or services that the brand is selling. The goal will be to position the product or service as being a crucial tool for achieving this lifestyle. Spending time observing, speaking to and researching the communities’ social preferences and behaviours is a great way to start this analysis.
A PR should always ask the following questions:
What does this audience long for from travel, food, drink and fashion experiences?
Which public figures inspire them and why?
How do they like to spend their money?
What causes do they support?
Lifestyle touch-points for PRs
Once the PR knows exactly what kind of lifestyle they are helping their target audience reach, they need to think about where one would eat, sleep, party and repeat to fulfil their ambition of attaining this lifestyle and, how they are going to use these touch-points to tell the story of their brand. After these have been agreed upon, a PR will introduce the most relevant and influential voices to communicate the brand’s core messages and stories.
This is where brand partnerships, brand ambassadors, events and product/ service line extensions come into play. Be it partnering with a like-minded brand, working with a brand ambassador to supporting an activist; the brand is able to enhance the positioning of their own values and beliefs.
When Kate Moss was infamously seen in Hunter wellies at Glastonbury Festival, the product didn’t just get promoted as being useful tool for dealing with mud, but became a symbol of timeless rock n’ roll, a way of life that every festival goer wishes to embody – hence, urging them to buy Hunter wellies.
In 2002 when Patagonia created a non-profit donating 1% of its annual sales to grassroots environmental collectives, they didn’t just do a good deed, they enhanced the brand’s core values of supporting ethical adventure travel, offering their customers an easy route into adopting the purchasing habits of a sustainable individual and a symbol of communicating this to their friends and family.
The lesson to be learnt is always, understand the lifestyle that surrounds your brand and become an integral brand in supporting customers and followers in achieving this desired way of life. Along the way, don’t forget to always listen to what they are saying, observe where they are going and always, make note of who they actually want to listening to.