1. Lifestyle brands represent something bigger and more relevant to us.
Chances are, you do laundry. So chances are, you buy laundry detergent. And like most people, you probably stick to the same brand.
But when you run across that brand at someone else’s house or in the store, how does it make you feel? Do you relive all your favorite trips to the laundromat? Are you filled with nostalgia for that time you accidentally washed your earbuds? Yeah, probably not.
But a brand we associate with a lifestyle can have the power to evoke real emotions, unearth memories, transport us to other places and times, even remind us of friends or family.
If you’re marketing your lifestyle brand like a laundry detergent, you’re not taking advantage of its power to create deeper connections.
2. Lifestyle brands give us permission to like things other people hate.
If your brand or category faces negativity or criticism, know that your customers likely do too.
Whether it’s energy drinks, alcohol or ammo, you’re likely to have just as many (or more) people against you as for you. And that’s not a bad thing. Strong negative emotions about a category often serve to make pro-category consumers dig in deeper and defend what they see as an expression of their character—a personal choice. Back them up on that choice.
That doesn’t mean literally championing your category or flaunting disdain for its critics. It means accepting the reality of it rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.
Unapologetically embrace the fact that you aren’t for everyone. Heck, some people even hate you. Which may be exactly why your customers love you.
3. Lifestyle brands aren’t just a product we buy. They’re a club we join.
When people put on a Patagonia jacket, they’re doing a lot more than protecting themselves from the elements. They’re saying something—to others, yes, but just as importantly, to themselves. Maybe they’re saying they support environmental efforts, or that they appreciate a well-made product, or that they understand the ever-so-subtle fashion flex. Most likely it’s a mash-up of all three and others too.
When personal connections like these are established, your brand is no longer supporting a lifestyle, it’s become a part of it. That’s when great lifestyle brands are built—when your customers become your most valuable channel to recruit others.
Call it word-of-mouth, though more often than not, there’s no conscious dialogue involved. The way your customers simply feel and act around others is all it takes to spread the word: “Come on. Join the club.”