Opinion

So you want to be a lifestyle brand?

We believe that the next generation of lifestyle brands will come from a much wider arena than simply individuals whose lives and products we covet.

Life is about experience and we all want more of it. What today’s lifestyle brands need to bring to consumers is bigger, better, bolder and more distinct experiences.With everyone from Lego who is said to be using the forthcoming 3D film to create a ‘lifestyle brand’ for children, to Green & Black’s re-launching, reframing and redesigning themselves as a lifestyle brand, it’s important that brands remain crystal clear about what is at their heart before extending into lifestyle territory.

The increasing number and variety of brands in this lifestyle category has the potential to confuse the consumer and negate aspects of the brand offer. It’s not about brands not entering this space but it is about understanding what the definition of lifestyle means to you and your audience and most importantly, imagining the future iteration of lifestyle and how to create it while staying true to your brand.

Photo: Green & Black's packaging, redesigned by Pearlfisher in 2009

Photo: Green & Black’s packaging, redesigned by Pearlfisher in 2009

Brands like Ralph Lauren were the true pioneers of the lifestyle movement, giving us an aspirational and aesthetic tableau to work with. Traditional lifestyle brands are all about a singular and clearly defined image, with a strong philosophy, specific set of values and distinct style that come from a specific individual. Thanks to clever marketing, consumers idealize these individuals as lifestyle perfection and these brands offer consumers a way to purchase a slice of it.

Taking a slightly different angle, brands like Jamie Oliver or IKEA are good examples of a growing number who are reinventing the lifestyle brand, bringing consumers closer to the brand by re-focusing aspiration around ‘real life’ lifestyles and an exploration of individuality. We believe that the next generation of lifestyle brands will come from a much wider arena than simply individuals whose lives and products we want. We will be looking to a whole new raft of influences that have an attitude and philosophy that can easily convert to compelling lifestyle brands. But, these brands must make sure to offer consumers the same focus, razor sharp brand awareness, and desire as the most successful single-offer brands of today.

The lifestyle journey has begun to deliver us from cookie-cutter to the carefully curated and now to a new and next generation of closeness and original creativity. Today we have begun to treat brands as having personalities of their own. It’s incredibly important for them to recognize this shift as their identity becomes increasingly holistic and to continue to fulfill consumer expectations by expressing these personalities on multiple platforms, in a way that consumers can still relate to and emotionally engage with.

Just as we expect our friends to enrich our lives with their personalities and experiences, we have the same expectations of brands and especially the ones that purport to represent aspirational lifestyles. The brands that can fulfill this will be the ones to shape and own the future of lifestyle branding by not just being another appendage or accessory, but by taking intimacy and integration to a whole new level.

About the Author

Tess Pearlfisher_200

Tess Wicksteed is Executive Vice President of Pearlfisher, New York

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