From brick-and-mortar stores specializing in small-batch olive oils to online boutiques that put the spotlight on indie designers, the latest crop of blockbuster brands do more than offer great products; they sell irresistible lifestyles that speak to today’s ultra-sophisticated buyers. What does it take to join their elite ranks?
Excitement is contagious. If you don’t truly believe in what you’re selling, why would your customers? Instead of using trends to decide where you want your new business to go, find a niche that speaks to you. Remember that there are thousands of established labels that revolve around hot-topic issues like sports or healthy eating, so straying from the main path can sometimes work out in your favor.
While most fully grown lifestyle brands offer a slew of merchandise, you can bet it wasn’t always that way. Almost every success story begins with a one-note hit – that single sale that eventually skyrockets a rookie company to fame. If you branch out too fast, you risk losing your one-of-a-kind-identity, an absolute must-have for anyone trying to launch a lifestyle product. Think of your imagination and ambition as finite resources that can be spread out evenly over several solid but not spectacular ideas or invested into just one all-star creation.
They may be as different as night and day, but there’s one thing that all lifestyle brands have in common: a strong, consistent viewpoint. From graphic design to advertising to packaging, everything about your business should reinforce your mission statement, another reason why it helps to keep your focus narrow when you’re just getting started. By the time you launch, a quick glance should be all that a newcomer to your brand needs to understand the overall ideas it represents.
Depth and Personality
Whether it’s eye-catching style, environmental sustainability, innovative technology or artisan craftsmanship, popular lifestyle brands represent cultural movements that resonate with specific subsets of today’s savvy global audience. The goal is to not just sell a unique, multi-dimensional product, but to inspire your buyers to explore their interests or try something different. When introducing a new addition to your collection of products or services, ask if it has the potential for sparking a real emotional connection. If not, get back to the drawing board.
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Traditional marketing alone is too limited in scope to work for a lifestyle brand that needs more than growing sale numbers to stay on track, so you want to combine it with smarter, less on-the-nose techniques like blogging, collaborating and staging events. For example, if you want to sell eco-friendly clothes to support a healthier, more responsible way of living, sending samples to wellness-oriented street-style bloggers in exchange for photo posts that feature your merchandise is a great way to get just the right kind of exposure.
Keep in mind that while all of the above are essential building blocks for creating a lifestyle brand, what you do with them is up to you. Demographics, expansion, budgeting, timing, manufacturing and marketing are factors that always remain fluid. Like cooking a complex recipe from scratch, they may need to be occasionally adjusted until every ingredient falls into place and the rest is magic.