“A lifestyle brand is a conversation that happens at specific points in a consumer’s life. Forget the aesthetics or aspirations. Those are mere tactics. If you want to be a lifestyle brand, you need a rock solid understanding of the values that you want to explore with your consumer.” – Jasmine Bina, Medium
The idea that ‘every company is a tech company’ is a well known notion in the digital age. But the new paradigm shift is the transition from being a traditional, single-category brand to being an enduring lifestyle brand. “Lifestyle” is going mainstream, being layered over every vertical, from fashion to finance. But being a successful lifestyle brand takes more than an aesthetically appealing facade. It takes strategically anchoring the core of who you are and what you do and delivering upon the most basic and honest understanding that ultimately, we are all human. As humans in an increasingly digital era, we’re seeking to engage with companies who behave less like transactional corporations, and more like real people.
As a result, brands are starting to look and act less like brands. They are dawning approachable, life-like tendencies while finding more purposeful and proactive ways to fit their solutions seamlessly and naturally into their customers’ lives. Let’s take a look at a few of the key trends driving this shift, and how some brands are adapting:
In the last few years, wellness has become a dominant lifestyle value that is profoundly changing consumer behavior and entire markets. With a shift in mindset from treating illness to proactively sustaining a state of health, we’re seeing the notion of “wellness” rapidly permeate all industries and brand offerings. In order to keep up with our ever-evolving ideals of healthy living, brands both inside and outside of the healthcare category are seamlessly infusing this concept in a less episodic, and more intentional, integrative way.
Cala Health is one such brand that was looking to disrupt traditional notions of what a healthcare brand should be. Their essential tremors wearable product Cala Trio, features a sleek product design more akin to a Fitbit or Apple Watch rather than a typical, hospital-grade medical device. We leveraged the company’s position at the intersection of technology and healthcare to eschew traditional category norms and create a disruptive, wellness-centered lifestyle brand built for the modern patient.
Cold and cut-throat are no longer the operational gold standards of high-impact finance. As organizations begin to realize the motivational influence of emotion in financial investment, they’re waking up to the need to incorporate traditionally transaction-based finance models with more emotion-based ones, and make room for intuitive decision making versus solely rational thinking. In other words, the finance industry is bringing human investment back to financial investment
With the understanding that our financial values are deeply connected to our personal values, we developed the Rallyday Partners brand to bring personal interest into private equity—going beyond facts, figures and dollar signs to create a customer-centric strategy that fosters connection through loyalty and trust. Rallyday was an exercise in disrupting the often heartless world of raising capital by putting people—and human development—first.
Traditional social norms surrounding age, gender, relationship status and life stage expectations are breaking down. This, combined with the rise of digital channels and social sharing, is amplifying typically underrepresented voices and issues. It is simultaneously leading to a cultural landscape in which neglected communities and populations are getting their moment in the limelight. This heightened awareness is creating immense demand and opportunity for brands that can breakthrough—using empathy and authenticity to cater to traditionally underserved populations through service-driven innovation.
Enter Mom’s Meals, a home delivery service bringing fresh, nutritionally balanced meals direct to seniors’ homes. When it comes to marketing, communications and innovating new solutions, aging cohorts are among the most underrepresented populations. In order to elevate the standard of nutritional care for older generations, we worked with Mom’s Meals to revitalize their brand purpose and restore the power of choice. This narrowed aim promotes ongoing health across life stages for underserved individuals.
Lifestyle branding is not a new concept. What has evolved, however, is the increasingly powerful role brands play in setting and expressing our ideals. Moving forward, a lifestyle brand should no longer be an unattainable aspiration. The successful lifestyle brands of tomorrow will be a democratized conversation that takes place over many meaningful points in a consumer’s life. The brands that will win are mirroring more emotions and humanized ideals that inspire us every day.