If you look at someone’s social profiles, you can typically guess what brands they love. Or, if I mention owners of Harley Davidson, LuluLemon, or John Deere, a certain type of person comes to mind.
These observations are only possible because those brands are professionals at lifestyle marketing.
It can seem daunting to tackle the same marketing techniques as brands who are juggernauts in their industries. They all do lifestyle marketing a little bit differently to reach their target customers, but it all comes down to one main goal: creating emotional connections.
To show how easy it is, here are a few reasons with examples to show why you should use lifestyle marketing to create emotional connections and improve your own online community.
Create a strong desire to belong
A growing number of customers care less about what a product is, and more about what owning it says about them. This is beneficial for lifestyle marketing, because it gives brands the ability to show potential customers who they can be by joining your brand community.This is exactly what Affliction has capitalized on! If you know anyone who is remotely interested in UFC or MMA fighting, you know they own at least one shirt from Affliction. That’s because Affliction has made their brand synonymous with the determination and drive to overcome challenges that are so closely associated with mixed martial arts.
Affliction has taken advantage of the concept of social comparison by making their brand demonstrate the driven, tough-as-nails lifestyle their customers identify with. As a result, belonging to the Affliction community makes their members feel better about themselves as part of a dedicated group of MMA fanatics.
Making your brand an identifiable place for your customers to belong emotionally, is the one of the pinnacles of what lifestyle marketing can do to improve your online community.
Build implicit trust in your brand
Think about your favorite lifestyle brands: Apple, Nike, Glossier. One thing they all have in common is that people (and especially their customers) trust them. These brands exemplify the ideas like creativity, athletic drive, and minimalist beauty that their community members want to emulate themselves.
Similarly, there’s a good reason there’s been an explosion of wellness lifestyle brands. We all want to be healthy, and coincidentally, wellness brands all tell us they want us to be happy, holistic, and healthy too. Gaiam has done an incredible job of making their marketing about the wellness lifestyle, not just their yoga products. Subsequently, customers know that Gaiam has their health and wellness in mind beyond just making a sale. When you know someone has your best interest in mind, you trust them, implicitly.
Aligning the lifestyle goals of the Gaiam brand to match the values of their customers allowed Gaiam to create nearly instant trust from their customers, all through lifestyle marketing.
Consumers purchase from brands they trust, so lifestyle marketing to shows your customers that their values are your values, so they won’t be able to help but trust your brand.
Encourage constant sharing
Whenever you cross paths with Harley Davidson customers, you immediately know what brand community they are loyal to, even without having to have a conversation. That’s because with lifestyle marketing, Harley Davidson has turned every single community member into a passionate marketer, inside and out.
The same goes with any lifestyle brand. United by Blue is a fashion brand, but they are focused on a completely different type of customer than who Affliction or Gaiam might target for their community. United by Blue is all about getting out in nature, sustainability, and eco-consciousness. In fact, for every product sold they remove 1 pound of trash from waterways. This connection to a “greater good” resonates with their customers, who already care deeply about sustainability.
By making it easy to share about the brand with a points program, United by Blue is creating passionate brand advocates with every purchase. Even when they aren’t sending referrals though, their customer’s emotional connection to the sustainable vision of the brand make them walking, talking United by Blue billboards - even when there isn’t a logo in sight.
Lifestyle marketing is working at its finest when the brand and their goals become indistinguishable from who the customers are, making everything they do an act of referral.
Lifestyle marketing is about creating emotional connections
You might not be on a Fortune list of companies, but you can and should be using the same lifestyle marketing techniques as the titans of industry to improve your own online community.
Whether you’re becoming a valuable place to belong, building trust in your brand, or being constantly marketed by your community, the goal is to align your values with your customers’.
Make your brand experience a reflection of who your customers want to be, and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start using lifestyle marketing in the first place.