In today’s world, with all the information you could ever need at the tip of your fingers, what makes a brand stand out from all the rest?
In order to connect with any consumer, you have to know what’s important to them. You have to fully grasp the lifestyle they aspire and reflect that lifestyle. You have to communicate that you embrace the same ideals they do, not just that you have a functional product. A solution to this: lifestyle brands.
So, what is a lifestyle brand? By definition, a lifestyle brand is an ideology created by a company’s particular brand that pursues to embody the identities, interests, lifestyles, attitudes and opinions of an individual, group or culture. A lifestyle brand is achieved by focusing on evoking an emotional connection with its consumers, creating a desire for a consumer to be affiliated with a particular group or brand. Furthermore, the consumer will believe that their identity will be reinforced if they publicly associate themselves with a particular lifestyle brand.
Consumers view products they purchase as an expression of who they are and what they stand for. We are not buying products solely for their functionality anymore – we are buying products for their symbolic value and how they reflect us.
Let me give you some examples.
Nike has been an extremely successful lifestyle brand year after year. In this ad, you can’t even tell what product they’re selling. That’s because they’re not trying to – they’re trying to create a strong image for the brand that represents strength, inspiration, endurance, coolness, and pride. When one buys Nike products, they’re buying all of these aspects too, not just their durable shoes.
Again, Coke is not just trying to sell their product. They're trying to sell the laughter, love, happiness, fun, friendship, etc. associated with the Coca-Cola brand.
However, it's not just the Coke's and Nike's of the world that are encompassing lifestyle brands. I recently read an article on AdAge where mouthwash brand Listerine is aiming to become a lifestyle brand.
Johnson & Johnson's Listerine launches a global "Bring Out the Bold" campaign in more than 80 countries starting April 4 around the idea that people who use its products most are just more adventurous. A video ad in Asia shows a woman who "fears no food" tearing into crab legs, dried squid and crushed ice as terrified fish look on from an adjacent aquarium, awaiting their fate. Another shows a man who impresses women by cracking walnuts with his mouth.
I found it intriguing (and brilliant) that a brand like Listerine is aiming to become a lifestyle brand. It gets me thinking about the potential other everyday brands have to connect with consumers and fully grasp the lifestyle they aspire and reflect that lifestyle.