Today’s post brought to you from the mind of Simon Trabelsi, our resident social media veteran, logophile, Rant Boss, pop culture nut, stereotypical Millennial smartalec, and at times jester. Enjoy!
I understand that brands have business models and want to outpace competitors in their categories – Okay cool, we’ve got that down. I also understand that much of the aforementioned objective involves tactics like talking about your product, showcasing your product, raising awareness of your product,
making letting people try your product, and an onslaught of et ceteras. Once again, my response is… okcool.*
BUT, how about striving for consumers to live your product (and subsequently your brand)? How about becoming more of a lifestyle accessory than a just an product that people use from time to time? How about aiming to convert consumers to fans and acknowledge them as living, breathing human beings rather than data points?
Sometimes the aforementioned involves stepping out of the box just a little bit. Maybe all brand communication doesn’t have to center around just the product; maybe we (consumers/fans) want to feel like we’re being conversed with rather than talked at; maybe if we try to provide an experience for fans rather than sell a product to consumers, there’s an opportunity to encroach upon “lifestyle accessory” territory (or as BJ Bueno would put it, a cult brand). Think about the Apples, the Starbucks, the Red Bulls, the Nikes – all these brands execute strategies and tactics centered around what their brand represents as opposed to “SEE NEW PRODUCT! BUY BUY BUY!” This is kindasorta relevant, because as of press time (which for a blog is really just “publish” time) I believe these brands are doing okay for themselves.
Consumers Fans want to feel like the personality of a brand matches someone they would be friends with, were it a real person; fans want to understand how, in this world of customization and instant gratification, brands can cater to their lifestyle – and guess what? Considering social media and the remainder of the digital space fosters interaction and connection between buyer and seller, the aforementioned concept is beyond plausible (in fact it’s MEGA plausible… on steroids).
Once it’s clear what the true brand experiences we’re providing (or want to provide) to fans are, it’s a matter of fully understanding what target audience most desires said experience, followed by capitalizing on the opportunity to refine that understanding every day through the fast-paced digital world (sorry, this could mean fewer 8-week intensive market research projects that generate data to be used NEXT FISCAL… snap out of it**). At the end of my awesome experience as a consumer/fan, what should remain is that the brand which provided it (I’d like to say “who provided it,” because brand personality is more important than ever) has now been inaugurated into who I am as a person, which I would totally dig.
I realize this lifestyle stuff may seem like a concept not applicable to every brand, but with the right level of strategic thinking there are subtle victories that can be attained on a step-by-step basis to move in the right direction. There are too many examples to name, which is why this is simply an intro to the “About That Life” series of posts that will follow. For the most part it will contain insights viewed through the prism of “lifestyle marketing” and the strategic (or accidental) implementation of it, though I must warn thatsome of it will simply be me narcissistically sharing what brands I use and why. Overall, this means analyzing everything from TV spots to campaigns, highlighting both successes and (epic) fails. I’m looking forward to peeling them off with all our readers (and clients).
So go forth, interact, engage, and be about that life!
*The origin of “okay” and “cool” as one word in Simon Trabelsi’s cerebral library of colloquialisms stems from many conversations with Steve Harvey’s manager (and Steve himself, in the conversations we’ve shared), who effortlessly combines affirmation/acknowledgment (okay) with “since we agree, let’s move on” (cool) with a singular phrase that takes all of 0.7 seconds to utter. Awesome right? Okcool.
**I fully realize I’m coming off as a snot-nosed Millennial who thinks he has all the answers without even a decade of professional experience. I accept this label, but please know that I shall continue to strive toward being one of the inexperienced Millennials who just so happens to drive results (also known as MAKING IT RAIN) and my track record states I’m on the right trajectory (#selfcall).
The opinions within this column are those of the writer and contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IMAGES USA
Which brands are a part of your lifestyle? Is “lifestyle accessory” a viable concept? Tweet us @IMAGESUSA!!