Lifestyle brand

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A lifestyle brand is a company that markets its products or services to embody the interests, attitudes, and opinions of a group or a culture. Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the definition of the consumer's way of life. They often operate off an ideology, hoping to attract a relatively high number of people and ultimately becoming a recognised social phenomenon.[1]

Definition[edit]

Lifestyle brands operate off the idea that each individual has an identity based on their choices, experiences, and background (e.g. ethnicity, social class, subculture, nationality, etc.). Lifestyle brands focus on evoking emotional connections between a consumer and that consumer's desire to affiliate him or herself with a group. Some recent contributions have defined lifestyle brands as one of the possible ways of consumer self-expression: customers believe that their identity will be reinforced or supplemented if they publicly associate themselves with a lifestyle brand or other symbol-intensive brands.[2]

Examples[edit]

While some lifestyle brands purposely reference existing groups or cultures, others create a disruption within the status quo and propose an innovative viewpoint on the world. The driver force may be the product, the shopping experience, the service, the communication or a combination of these elements. These are often result from visionary goals of the CEO or founder. Early on, Apple’s founder Steve Jobs sought to inergrate the company's innovations into the industries of music, entertainment, and telecommunications.[3] In a 2002, he gifted each 7th- and 8th-graders in the state of Maine with a laptop, in an effort to show that it wasn't "about the technology, it's about what people can do with it."[3] Lee Clow—the chairman of Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide and and Apple marketing partner—said that Jobs had "a very rigorous view of Apple's tone of voice and the way it talks with people," calling it "very human, very accessible."[3] Burton has built its lifestyle brand by drawing on the snowboarding subculture and Quiksilver has done the same with the surfing community.

Some lifestyle brands align themselves with an ideology. Patagonia proposes an environmentally friendly way of life. Volcom, with the promise "Youth Against Establishment", gives a label and a sense of belonging to those who are "against" the world of adults.

One popular source for lifestyle brands is also national identity. Victoria's Secret purposely evoked the English upper class in its initial branding efforts, while Burberry is recalling the hip London culture.

Social or personal image is also a reference point for some lifestyle brands. In 1990s, Abercrombie & Fitch successfully resuscitated a 1950s ideal—the white, masculine “beefcake”—during a time of political correctness and rejection of 1950s orthodoxy, creating a lifestyle brand based on a preppy, young, Ivy-League lifestyle. Their retail outlets reflect this lifestyle through their luxurious store environment, attractive store associates (models), and their black and white photographs featuring young people "living the Abercrombie & Fitch lifestyle". In doing so, Abercrombie & Fitch has created an outlet for those who lead, or wish to lead or wish to dream about leading this lifestyle.[4]

Expansion[edit]

One key indication that a brand has become a lifestyle is when it successfully expands beyond its original product. For example, Nike used to be a product-based company, focusing on making running shoes. But over time, the company and its logo has become associated with the athletic subculture. This has allowed Nike to expand into related athletic categories, such as sports equipment and apparel. Gaiam started out as a yoga company, but has had great success in developing a lifestyle brand, which has allowed them to move into other markets as varied as solar power and green building supplies. Nautica started out as a collection of 6 outerwear pieces but built itself into a global lifestyle brand by having collections for Men, Women, Kids, Home and Accessories.

Indeed, a company's status as a lifestyle brand is not just achieved by way of a wide product range but, above all, by the benefit and symbolic value that the customer associates with the brand.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saviolo, Stefania; Marazza, Antonio (2012). Lifestyle Brands - A Guide to Aspirational Marketing. Palgrave Macmillan. 
  2. ^ Chernev, A.; Hamilton, R.; Gal D. (2011). "Competing for Consumer Identity: Limits to Self-Expression and the Perils of Lifestyle Branding". Journal of Marketing 75. 
  3. ^ a b c Cuneo, Alice Z.; Elkin, Tobi; Kim, Hank; Stanley, T.L. (December 15, 2003), "Apple transcends as lifestyle brand." Advertising Age. 74(50):S-2-S-6
  4. ^ Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. "The man behind Abercrombie & Fitch". Salon.com. Retrieved Jan 24, 2006. 
  5. ^ Saviolo, Stefania; Marazza, Antonio (2012). Lifestyle Brands - A Guide to Aspirational Marketing. Palgrave Macmillan. 

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