Great Business Ideas: Lifestyle brands

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Lifestyle brands

By making your brand synonymous with the hobbies and aspirations of a particular cultural movement, you can massively increase the appeal of your product.

The idea

It is one thing to have a well-respected brand. It is another thing entirely to have a brand that encapsulates an entire culture, identity, and lifestyle. Brands that achieve this are known as “lifestyle brands.”

Used by customers to show membership of a particular cultural movement, lifestyle brands can be a form of wordless communication within society. They can also reinforce consumers’ esteem and perception of themselves.

Two areas that lifestyle brands draw on are national identity and subcultures. Lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret sought in its early marketing campaigns to evoke the British upper class. Likewise, successful luxury lifestyle brand Louis Vuitton draws on the opulent image of the French aristocracy.

Subcultures—particularly in music and sport—lend themselves well to lifestyle brands. Surf and sport brand Quiksilver embodies the modern lifestyle brand. Retailing clothes, wetsuits, surfwear, and sunglasses, it has created sponsorship deals with 500 board sport professionals. To promote its presence in the surfing lifestyle, it sponsors the annual elite Quiksilver Pro tournament. All of this effort has paid off: it is a market leader in the surfing industry, a trendy fashion label for surfers and non-surfers, and a member of the Fortune 1000. When customers buy Quiksilver apparel, they are buying a lifestyle of sun, sea, and surf, without the worry of having to brave any killer waves. Your product need not be sold just for its functional use: it can be marketed as an entry fee to the life your customers desire.

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In practice

  • Provide sponsorship deals, to show you are aligned with the culture you wish your brand to embody.
  • Placement of marketing is vital. Make your brand’s presence known at appropriate festivals, tournaments, meetings, parties, and cultural hotspots.
  • Sell a range of products involved with the culture—this will broaden your appeal and increase credibility.
  • Subcultures are a good target for lifestyle brands, as they often feel a strong need to assert their group identity.
  • Elite cultures are also suited to lifestyle brands.
  • One factor is often overlooked when creating a lifestyle brand: ensure your product offering is compatible with the “lifestyle” you are promoting. If you want to market your organization as an elite sporting brand, remember to actually sell quality sporting equipment that matches the needs and perceptions of the target market.