If branding is “deliberate differentiation” then successfully developing a lifestyle brand hinges on your ability to evoke a unique emotion in a far-reaching way. A whole “lifestyle” is no small thing.
Lifestyle brands don’t just appeal to a singular interest. Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people across multiple touch points. A lifestyle brand hopes to appeal to consumers by shaping the way they spend their time, appoint their home, relate to others, dress, eat, and on and on.
And since “you don’t start out a brand, you create a brand,” the process of developing a lifestyle brand is a lot of work. To help you begin your branding journey we assembled advice from five top entrepreneurs.
The aim of these five steps is to make the daunting process of defining your lifestyle brand a little easier. Here you go:
You know why you built your business and why you want it to be a lifestyle brand. You’re in it, hopefully, because you believe you can make a difference in your niche. You are passionate about it and think you have something new to offer the world. Show your target audience the point of your business: to help them lead better lives.
Jasmine Star explains to one of her clients: “The content you create should further your business’ story. You must ask yourself: what is this business (e.g. the gym you work for) about? It’s not really about working out, is it? It’s about Inspiring Change…Living a Better Life…Looking Hot…Proving Determination…___________ (fill in the blank). The gym needs to have its purpose and its ideal client in the forefront of your mind as you further the story.”
Lewis Howes, lifestyle entrepreneur and CreativeLive teacher, says you must build connections with influencers if you want to get anywhere with your brand. “Become friends with influencers… don’t just network with them. Take the time to develop a bond that is stronger than a business deal. When you do this, your friends will ‘take a bullet’ for you… and the business deal or promoting you is a no-brainer as well.”
Designer Debbie Millman believes that simple is better when it comes to logos. And she should know. She designed for huge brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Burger King. Instead of getting knee-deep into focus groups and data, go back to the basics, and look at the colors, shapes and feel associated with your brand. Millman says, “People do not read first. First and foremost, they see color. Then they see numbers, then shape, and then, if you still have their attention and they understand what you put in front of them, then they will read.”
Many lifestyle brands also feature a key figure at the center, like Jessica Alba and The Honest Company and Sheryl Sandberg of LeanIn.org. Dorie Clark, author of “Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future,” says that you should be transparent online when establishing your personal brand. That means setting up social media profiles, telling your story, blogging regularly and nurturing friendships with influencers on Twitter.
Branding expert Carolina Rogoll says that you need to find your message, and then stick to it in order to stay in the minds of customers. “Consistency pays out. Frequent exposure to the same brand identity and message helps increase brand recognition and awareness. If you have a well-defined and managed brand identity combined with messaging that’s compelling and executed consistently, your media investment will also have higher returns and go further in building the strength of your brand.”