With the recent growth of companies who are in the calibre of a “popular brand,” often calling themselves a “lifestyle brand,” lots of fashion and lifestyle companies are setting themselves higher goals. A brand that can be called a “lifestyle brand” is a one that truly speaks to you as a person. And it is these companies that are able to turn their customers from liking their products to loving their brand — they truly become a part of people’s lives and have their own identify and stand for something. These types of brands then act as our best friend, someone you want to be with all the time, someone who you admire and allow getting under your skin.
The brands that deserve to be called a “lifestyle brands” are names that are very familiar to all of us, more likely a brand that we love without knowing that they are referred to as a the “lifestyle brand”. Companies such as Whole Foods, Kate Spade, Lulu Lemon, Aerin and Rapha all fall under this category.
With the increasing demand of digital engagement in the online world, small businesses, especially those in fashion, beauty and lifestyle, can take advantage of the demand for engaging content and can set themselves up to become a lifestyle brand. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will grow their customer base more easily, but they will succeed in creating a community around their brand by setting themselves up in this way. I believe that it is a faster route to their profitability and growth within a year, especially if they are on a small budget.
A great example is a fast growing lifestyle company Chubbies, who promote themselves around the “weekend” lifestyle and living life to the full. Chubbies were set up in September 2011 and have now received funding over $4m from top players in the fashion market.
So what do business owners need to do to become a lifestyle brand—the brand that customers will fall love with? There are a few key principles to apply:
- Create a brand ethos with an emotional attachment, i.e. the lifestyle you want your customers to perceive and engage with, e.g. Lulu Lemon is about well-being. Kate Spade is about manifesting a colourful world.
- Go niche on your target market – Identify your target market and your niche and create a brand ethos (personality, key values, tone of voice) matching this type of customer. Don’t be afraid to go niche — the more niche you go, the stronger engagement (and results) you will see. Lulu Lemon started targeting yoga fanatics. Kate Spade’s customer is quick, strong, playful and curious.
- Create unique content engaging your target market – become the go-to destination for your lifestyle. The goal is to think outside the box and leave your products behind. Think of building communities—what content (images, articles, how-to education, videos) you need to share with your target market. Your blog, social media and website become the centre of attention. If you don’t like these channels—get to know them.
- Distribute your content effectively and identify key ambassadors – The content you create needs to get in front of the right people—your niche target market. Identify engaging and viral campaigns (online & offline); find influencers for your brand. Work with bloggers, magazines and use email marketing campaigns to get it out there! Lulu Lemon’s ambassadors are yoga instructors.
- Measure and optimise it – The big advantage of online content is that you can measure and optimise it. Do more of what works, change things that don’t work.
Lots of large brands are moving in this direction now. Our prediction is that a lifestyle brand positioning will become a must for business owners wanting to grow and achieve their goals. Although it may seem like hard work and require lots of things to be implemented, you can make it fun. My advice is to think of the story you want to get across. Sometimes simple questions such as “Why are you in business? What do you want to stand for?” will set you on the right track.
The CEO & co-founder of Sale Servant and BagServant.co.uk and the founder of Crack the Digital Code, Lenka Gourdie is becoming well-known for her unabashed love of fashion, her deep knowledge of the industry and her ability to delight her customers. She has also mastered the digital marketplace and has an extensive network of contacts among bloggers, journalists, PRs and of course, designers and fashion entrepreneurs.
Lenka has over 15 years experience in sales, marketing, business development and headhunting and works with emerging brands in order to help them get established and explore their potential. Additionally she also has proven experience in commercialisation and new product development. Lenka worked for a fashion manufacturing house for over two years. and has been working with small businesses for over four years. She has been featured and quoted in The Times, Reveal, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, Woman & Home, Smarta and has won several social media awards, such as SBS from Theo Paphitis and WOW from Jacqueline Gold.