Lifestyle marketing has become increasingly popular as brands work to associate themselves with a way of life customers aspire to. In doing so, brands become purveyors of the tastes, styles, activities, etc. that compliment their identities and product offerings.
Much like concept stores, brands who take a lifestyle approach seek to create a perspective or viewpoint, a lens from which the customer can interpret and perceive the collection and how it applies to their own lives. Some brands do this through the product, by extending their collections to include various aspects. Take Ralph Lauren, for example, a brand that has multiple apparel collections, home, child, accessories, etc. Or Bottega Veneta, who also offers a furniture collection in addition to apparel, accessories and home.
Other brands do this through events and/or content that is focused on areas not directly within their product lines. Tommy Hilfiger Radio, MaxMara’s magazine, or Lexus’ lifestyle portal Luxury Awaits, are all examples of this.
For concept stores, as discussed in yesterday’s article, there is an element of discovery in exploring the store merchandise and the outlook of the curator. Established brands have a harder time with discovery and prompting this exploration because their point of view is already known.
We’ve learned how concept stores are successful in using an array of product offerings and different labels to tell a story and create engagement, but how can more established brands do this?
For lifestyle marketing, it’s important for brands to recognize that, while it certainly helps to set a brand identity, associations with external brands or categories should be meaningful. After all, if you are a ready-to-wear brand, customers don’t expect to receive information on upcoming concerts, gallery openings, etc. While these can be value-adds for customers, brands should understand that the majority of customers might not access the brand for this type of content regularly.
Rather, customers can be enticed through both the brand and the product, and the stories behind each of these. Having lifestyle content that is a natural extension of the brand not only makes sense, but it makes for an interesting experience.
Take for example Barney’s. As a department store, Barney’s can easily achieve lifestyle marketing through the products they offer. From the home goods in Chelsea Passage to an array of clothing, accessories, beauty and even an on-site restaurant, Fred’s, Barney’s has established itself as edgy, fun, witty and inherently stylish.
As a shopper you experience the imagination that goes into the buying and merchandising, which provides a lens through which a shopper should interpret the pieces sold at Barney’s; it’s what makes going to Barney’s one of the city’s most fun activities (Ok, so I’m a bit biased).
But what of the website experience? I would invite Barney’s, and other established brands, to think about the point of view they have created through the brand identity and use that as the basis for the online experience. If it’s featuring interesting new designers, why not use the website to tell the story of these designers, or articulate how Barney’s comes to find them? Why not provide video content of personal shoppers and stylists pairing items together for the season? Or feature the always fabulous Creative Director, Simon Doonan throughout the site?
Whether small concept boutiques or established brands, there is a very real opportunity in using the perspective to create a memorable, delightful shopping experience, even online.
Photo Credits: Bottega Veneta Furniture collection 2010
Edited by: Gina Conforti