- Lifestyle brand
A lifestyle brand embodies the values and aspirations of a group or culture.
A successful lifestyle brand speaks to the core identity of its customers. Individuals each have their own sense of self, based on their background (e.g. ethnicity, social class, subculture, nationality, etc.). A lifestyle brand provides a powerful supplement to this core identity, by allowing the individual to publicly associate themselves with the brand.
Many lifestyle brands purposely reference existing groups or cultures.
A prototypical lifestyle brand is
Abercrombie & Fitch. A&F has created a lifestyle based on a preppy, young Ivy Leaguelifestyle. Their retail outlets reflect this lifestyle through their luxurious store environment, admirable store associates (models), and their ever-famous black and white photographs featuring young people living the Abercrombie lifestyle. In doing so, Abercrombie & Fitch has created an outlet for those who lead, or wish to lead this lifestyle.
One popular source for lifestyle brands is national identity.
Victoria's Secretpurposely evoked the English upper class in its initial branding efforts, while Louis Vuittoncontinues to draw on the opulent tradition of the French aristocracy.
Another source of lifestyle brands is
subcultures. Burton has built its lifestyle brand by drawing on the snowboardingsubculture and Quiksilverhas done the same with the surfingcommunity.
A lifestyle brand is like a magnet that attracts people with certain philosophies and lifestyles to buy the products that this brand promotes. Magnetic Marketing is the process of transforming brands into magnets that attract people with certain philosophies and lifestyles to buy the products that these brands promote.
Brands that stand for a certain philosophies and lifestyles create emotional connections with these individuals who believe in the same philosophies and live the same lifestyles and attract them in the same way that magnets attract metallic objects. The power of magnetic fields that these brands create depends on the strength of the position that these brands stand for in the mind of these individuals.
One key indication that a brand has become a lifestyle is when it successfully extends beyond its original product category. For example, Nike used to be a product-focused company focusing on making running shoes. But over time, the company and its logo has become associated with the athlete subculture. This has allowed Nike to expand into related athletic categories, such as sports equipment and apparel.
Gaiamstarted 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.
It appears that for some companies, an important component of becoming a lifestyle brand is expanding their product line to their company name and image with several products associated with a group or culture. Examples include
Calvin Kleinlicensing its name to a perfume called CKOne, and Harley Davidsonselling branded merchandise to its customers. By this measure, other successful lifestyle brands include Caterpillar, John Deere, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gucci.
Although lifestyle brands are relatively uncommon in the electronics and computer industries, Apple became a lifestyle brand after it expanded its market share into the music industry through its
iPoddigital music player. The iPod and the ubiquitous white headphones included are also deemed a fashion accessory by some and may be considered a status symbol, although this is somewhat debatable. BMWis an automobile manufacturer that has been successful in becoming a lifestyle brand, branching out into the sports and fitness segment with bicycles, skateboards, apparel and various fashion accessories. BMW's subsidiary, MINI has also integrated itself as a lifestyle brand in much the same way.
Lifestyle brands have gained an increased share of luxury market (e.g. Armani Nobu restaurant in Milan). Luxury-based lifestyle brands allow consumers to buy products that they associate with a better, more luxurious life. It appears that luxury lifestyle brands such as
Gucci, Armani, and Louis Vuittonhave allowed these companies to expand well beyond their original markets of fashion or handbags.
Many companies have unsuccessfully attempted to turn their brands into lifestyle brands. Certain brands appear to lack the cachet or excitement to make the transition. Both
McDonaldsand Microsofthave attempted to become lifestyle brands in the last decade, and had marginal success at best. Starbuckshas also struggled on this front, with failed or struggling attempts to expand into music, magazines, and merchandising.
* [http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2005/07/not_every_brand.html Not Every Brand is a Lifestyle Brand] -
* [http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm?fa=printArticle&ID=1126 Luxury Products as Lifestyle Brands] - Knowledge@Wharton
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.