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How to Create a Lifestyle Brand That People Obsess Over

How to Create a Lifestyle Brand That People Obsess Over

You have seen it, right? These brands are known as more than just products; they are complete lifestyles that people buy into without hesitation. Think about brands such as Goop, Outdoor Voices, and Away. Its users not only use their goods; they adopt the brand’s philosophy and aesthetics.

Well, maybe you’re an entrepreneur with an excellent idea for a product and would love to build this kind of following. Or perhaps you have an existing business that feels a little… soulless. Creating an authentic lifestyle brand might be what takes you from having customers to start an actual movement.

But how do you create one of these cult lifestyle brands that people obsess over? It’s not as easy as slapping trendy fonts on your products and calling it a day. A genuine lifestyle brand needs to go much more profound – infusing everything from your brand voice to your product design to your marketing with an authentic, cohesive lifestyle vibe that resonates with your audience.

Ready to turn your business into the next big lifestyle brand craze? Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What Even Is a Lifestyle Brand?

Outdoor Voices Lifestyle Brand

Before discussing strategies here, let us establish what a lifestyle brand is. Essentially, a lifestyle brand does not only sell stuff; it sells an entire way of life, looks, ideals and practices that integrate into the identities of those who buy them.

Customers do not just purchase t-shirts or suitcases; they invest in the company’s ethos. For instance, Outdoor Voices promotes athleticism and self-drive through their products – this means that they are not only limited to selling workout leggings but also any other necessary gear for an active lifestyle. When she started, Goop was nothing more than Gwyneth Paltrow’s luxurious, healthy, spiritual living weekly email recommendation service, full of items fitting within her chosen context.

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Such brands create communities around themselves where people find belongingness together. This is because there is always something aspirational about them – individuals desire to belong somewhere; thus, they model their actions after these organisations’ teachings, even going as far as changing who their friends are based on what best represents the brand message in question.

This goes beyond selling things with no emotional value; it transcends such superficialities as mere commodities without any more profound motivational connection points. Lifestyle brands become cultural events or movements and badges of honour that individuals fiercely protect while constantly seeking opportunities to interact with them.

Why You'd Want to Create a Lifestyle Brand

At this time, you might think, “Ok, I get it that lifestyle brands are cool and all. But is it worth the hassle as a business?”

In short, yes.

There are some significant benefits to creating a lifestyle brand around your products or company:

  • Higher Prices for Products – When people buy into the lifestyle, they’ll pay premium prices for your products as status symbols representing their identity and values.
  • Insane Customer Loyalty – Lifestyle brands create cult-like followings of customers who buy everything the brand offers and defend it to the death.
  • Almost Automatic Marketing – With an army of passionate supporters, they’ll do loads of organic marketing for you through social media sharing and word-of-mouth advertising alone.
  • Expansion Into Different Product Lines – Apparel, accessories, media, events… These product categories become natural extensions of your brand when you’re a lifestyle business. (AKA easy money!)
  • Partnership Opportunities – Partnering (or even just collaborating) with other businesses in your niche can become very attractive to them since their product/service can help enhance the lives of your dedicated audience.
  • Ability To Recruit Top Talent – Exciting lifestyle brands naturally draw in brilliant people who want to contribute their skills toward furthering what the company represents and its overall culture.

So yes — while building an actual lifestyle brand does require more work up front than simply slapping a logo on some products — the long-term payoff is too huge to ignore. It’s the difference between having customers and having super fans.

The Lifestyle Brand Creation Process

Alright, no more beating around the bush – let’s learn how to make one of those crazy famous lifestyle brands already. Here’s what we’re going to do:

  1. Position Your Lifestyle Brand
  2. Design a Unified Aesthetic for Your Lifestyle Brand
  3. Make Rituals and Brand Experiences
  4. Formulate an Active Community Around Your Lifestyle Brand
  5. Branch Out Into New Product Categories
  6. Consider Lifestyle Brand Partnerships

Let’s start at the very beginning by defining which way you want your brand to lean as far as lifestyle is concerned.

Nailing Your Lifestyle Brand Positioning

Alcohol Brand Positioning

For lifestyle brands, it’s all about positioning. You should identify the central lifestyle you want your brand to be associated with – values, interests, aesthetics and experiences that make up your brand’s DNA.

This acts as a compass for every aspect of your work, from product design to brand voice & marketing, staff recruitment, customer targeting, etc. Done well, your positioning will smack people in the face, and they’ll be like, “Ah! This is the brand for people like me who live like this.”

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How on earth do you go about defining that positioning? Here are some methods which can help:

1) Look at Your Existing Customers

If you’ve already got an established customer base, look amongst them for common threads of lifestyle which unite your most passionate buyers. What are their interests, values, aesthetics and ways of life? How can you distil that down into one cohesive lifestyle positioning that becomes the foundation for everything else about your brand?

! There’s a “digital nomad” lifestyle brand waiting to happen.

2) Look at Your Competitors

Study other top players in the market who might also be seen as competitors – what specific lifestyles + brand positioning do their products/marketing/communities embody? And more importantly, where could you carve out some unique unoccupied lifestyle territory which sets you apart from any other brands out there (yet)?

This competitive analysis could inspire new angles for differentiating yourself through distinctive positioning or reveal gaps where nobody has yet to own certain lifestyles within this industry.

3) Look at Your Lifestyle

If you’re a founder or heavily involved with running things day-to-day, why not let your lifestyle/values/interests inform what could become the backbone of your brand’s positioning? People love connecting with authentic human visions + sets of experiences behind brands.

Evel Sportswear’s grungy skate/surf aesthetic was born out of co-founders’ teen years & hobbies – their “why” video shares stories from childhood that shaped how they see life now. Realness sells!

4) Listen to Broader Lifestyle Trends

Keep an ear to the ground for emerging lifestyle trends, subcultures, niche interests or movements that provide fertile soil to grow new lifestyle brands like wildflowers. Is there some way people are starting to live which doesn’t yet have a standout brand associated with it?

Examples could include van life, urban gardening, sober lifestyles, psychedelic wellness, social audio – any kind of weird little passion area where lots more folks are getting into it and want something bigger than just products alone to rally around as their emblematic lifestyle choice.

But whichever path you choose, try injecting as much depth, personality & detail into this aspect of your overall marketing strategy as possible! The aim is always going to be about finding those sweet spots where different elements within our positioning all hang together nicely around specific core values/interests:

Once you know for sure what your brand’s distinctive way of life zone is, you should be able to use it as a touchstone for every decision about product creation and the general atmosphere of the brand.

Creating a Cohesive Lifestyle Brand Aesthetic

How To Build A Lifestyle Brand Moodboard
Source: Kristy Black on Dribbble

A considerable part of building lifestyle brand devotion comes down to creating an all-encompassing, aesthetically cohesive universe that people want to buy into and surround themselves with.

From your product design and packaging to your brand's social media presence and even the outfits of your models/influencers, everything should consistently reinforce your brand's specific lifestyle through visuals, colours, textures, photography, and overall vibe.

People should be able to instantly recognise something as being 100% on-brand for your lifestyle without even seeing a logo. That robust and differentiated aesthetic is a big part of the appeal – helping people telegraph their lifestyle affiliation through your brand's distinct look and feel.

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How can you create that binding aesthetic essence for your lifestyle brand? Here are a few tips:

Develop a Cohesive Lifestyle Brand Moodboard

Create a moodboard that captures all the key visual elements, colour palettes, textures, photography styles, and design vibes that fit your intended lifestyle. This becomes your guiding north star for everything creative.

Look to brands like Kinfolk, Free People, and Aesop for inspiration on nailing that iconic, easily recognisable aesthetic that screams their lifestyle.

Hire Designers Who “Get” Your Lifestyle

Don't just hire any ole designers – build an in-house creative team or work with external creative partners who are immersed in and genuinely resonant with the specific lifestyle you're selling.

They'll naturally incorporate the proper aesthetic codes versus having to constantly course-correct creatives who need to intrinsically understand your brand's lifestyle.

Be Crazy Consistent. Like, Crazy Consistent.

Creating a cohesive aesthetic doesn't just mean being consistent with your actual products – it means unwavering consistency across every single customer touchpoint. Your website, packaging, social media, email newsletters, brand activations, merchandising in your retail stores… everything.

Drill your lifestyle aesthetic into every aspect of your creative expression until it becomes your customers' brand air. For example, Interior Live's office looks like their minimalist furniture designs.

Don't Be Afraid to Polarise

While total consistency is essential, your lifestyle brand's look shouldn't be dull, milquetoast, or appeal to everyone. Quite the opposite – it should be provocative and stand for something particular that not everybody will vibe with.

By leaning into an unapologetically bold, niche, and polarising aesthetic (that some people will hate), you attract deeper loyalty from those who resonate with your lifestyle. Wandera's edgy, Burning Man-esque spiritual vibe is a great example.

When every expression of your lifestyle brand – from your products to your social media presence to your retail spaces – reinforces the same cohesive vibe, you create a self-contained world in which people want to lose themselves. They'll constantly surround themselves with your aesthetic to telegraph their lifestyle affiliation while fueling even deeper loyalty.

Developing Rituals and Lifestyle Brand Experiences

Nike Lifestyle Brand Example

Creating a product with an aesthetic isn't enough on its own. The strongest lifestyle brands create immersive worlds by developing signature rituals, experiences, content, and even physical spaces related to their lifestyle.

These provide sticky entry points for people to live the brand's lifestyle rather than just buying it. It's the key to fostering that addictive, participatory sense of community and obsession around your brand.

For example, look at what Lululemon does with its in-studio yoga classes, run clubs, ambassador programs, and massive event schedules. Or Outdoor Voices' Instagram trail challenges and Recreationist community program. Sure, they sell clothes – but they also build ecosystems of experiences that allow you to consume and participate in their active lifestyle.

So, what sort of rituals and branded lifestyle experiences could you create for your customers? A few ideas:

Branded Events and Meetups

From large-scale festivals and conferences to small, local community meetups – use events to bring your brand's lifestyle to life through immersive experiences. Think of how SoulCycle builds community through group rides and fan meetups.

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Brand Membership Programs

Create exclusive membership programs, apps or subscription boxes that allow people to embed themselves in your lifestyle. Examples include Bev's alcohol-free online gatherings and LIVELY's subscription box of body positivity content and products.

Educational Content and Programs

Customers crave helpful how-to content about living your lifestyle, whether that's through blog posts, video courses, books, podcasts or certification programs. Breaking out of the mould, lingerie brand Cuup offers community learning circles.

Physical Lifestyle Spaces

Open physical spaces like stores, pop-ups, showrooms, gyms, restaurants or members-only clubs where people can experience and gather around your lifestyle in person. Glossier and Soho House are stellar examples.

Co-Created Member Content

Encourage and amplify user-generated content from your loyal customers that allows them to participate in and show off their version of your lifestyle brand. This could include reposting tagged photos, customer stories, Q&As, etc.

The more you can create signature branded rituals and environments for participating in your lifestyle, the more you move beyond just a product company to fostering a community bonded by shared mindsets and experiences.

When done well, your brand becomes inseparable from your customers' identities as the symbols and experiences allow them to live out their aspirational way of life.

Building an Active Lifestyle Brand Community

Lifestyle Brand Community

Speaking of community, any successful lifestyle brand must relentlessly build, nurture, and activate its community of supporters.

After all, a big part of what makes a lifestyle brand so alluring is identity signalling and being part of a passionate in-group or tribe. That feeling of community belonging becomes a big reason for people to buy your products and evangelise you everywhere.

The most potent lifestyle brands all have thriving communities where fans constantly engage with the brand, share their contributions, and interact with each other to feed their obsession.

So, when launching your lifestyle brand, you can't just take a “build it and they will come” approach. You must be incredibly proactive and strategic about fostering an active community from day one and constantly giving them reasons to engage.

A few community-building ideas that work wonders for lifestyle brands:

Build It on Established Platforms

Start by building your community on existing platforms where your target audience already hangs out, like Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Facebook Groups, Substack or Reddit. Go where they are before trying to force a migration.

Give Them Rituals to Engage With

Create daily/weekly/monthly rituals, challenges, content calendars, etc. Provide regular opportunities for people to constantly interact with each other and your brand through a structured activity or content.

Incentivise Superfans' Contributions

Whether it's creating customer rewards programs, amplifying user-generated content, inviting fans into the product design process or more – incentivise and empower your superfans to contribute in ways beyond just buying.

Launch In-Person Events and Meetups

While digital communities are expected, nothing builds bonds like real-life meetups and events where people can experience your lifestyle brand together. Start locally, then scale up regionally and nationally.

Build a Dedicated Community App/Hub

Once your community hits critical mass, build your branded community platform with chat forums, member accounts/profiles, events, shoutouts and more. Combining all of your community in one place boosts engagement.

Make Collaborators, Not Just Buyers

The most potent lifestyle brands position themselves as collaborative partners with their communities, not just businesses selling to customers. Embrace radical transparency, customer feedback loops, and co-creation to build buy-in and belonging.

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Every lifestyle brand succeeds with a rabid, active community driving it forward. So, put as much effort into building a thriving community as you can in perfecting your products. Done right, their enthusiasm and advocacy will be your most considerable fuel for long-term growth and cultural relevance.

Expanding Into New Lifestyle Brand Product Categories

Goop Lifestyle Brand Website

One of the most significant advantages of building an authentic lifestyle brand? You're no longer confined to just one product category! When your customers buy into a complete lifestyle rather than just buying products, it opens up endless opportunities to expand into new product lines and categories that align with your brand's lifestyle territory.

Goop started as a weekly email but grew into books, documentaries, clothing, beauty products, wellness summits, workout videos, home goods, and a print magazine. They followed their aspirational lifestyle ethos wherever it led them from a product perspective.

Similarly, Outdoor Voices began with athletic apparel. Still, they could parlay their active #DoingThings lifestyle into offerings as varied as protein shakes, dog accessories, camping equipment, and guided travel experiences.

The possibilities are endless when your brand's product is an entire way of living and being. Just look at how lifestyle brands like SoulCycle have stretched from cycling apparel into segments like media, food/beverage, and live experiences.

So, if you've established your lifestyle brand in one product category, don't stay put! The key to pulling off successful lifestyle brand extensions is to:

  1. Stay hyper-focused on your core lifestyle positioning
  2. Choose expansion categories that authentically align with that lifestyle
  3. Maintain a consistent brand aesthetic and experience across products

For example, if your lifestyle brand promotes sustainability and ethical manufacturing, new categories like zero-waste cleaning products or recycled home goods make perfect sense. Whereas randomly launching a fast fashion clothing line probably wouldn't fly.

When picking new lifestyle product categories, ask yourself:

  • Does this new category allow our customers to live this brand's lifestyle fully?
  • Can we credibly create these new products without compromising our brand's quality standards or ethos?
  • Will these products enhance or dilute our overall aesthetic and brand experience?

You can also look at feedback from your community on the types of product expansions they'd love to see from your lifestyle brand. Getting customer validation ahead of time is critical.

Another smart strategy is to start small with limited product drops and new category tests. See how customers respond before going all-in. It could be a pilot collaboration with an existing brand in that space before you build it yourself.

The beauty of being an authentic lifestyle brand is that you've earned permission from customers to expand well beyond your original product category. After all, they're not just buying what you sell but buying into everything your lifestyle represents.

So, embrace that freedom to evolve alongside your customers' lifestyle needs and interests. Just be intentional and disciplined about maintaining a unified lifestyle aesthetic and experience across whatever you launch.

Pitching Lifestyle Brand Partnerships and Collaborations

Co-Branding And Brand Partnerships All Logos

Speaking of strategic lifestyle brand collaborations, these should be part of your growth toolkit as you look to expand your lifestyle imprint.

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Smart partnership plays allow lifestyle brands to:

  • Expand into new product categories through co-creation
  • Reach new lifestyle-adjacent audiences through promotional channels
  • Build more robust lifestyle experiences through complementary bundles
  • Add additional lifestyle dimensions and credibility from brand partners

Some killer examples of inspired lifestyle brand collaborations:

  • Outdoor Voices x Merrell (Trail lifestyle apparel and footwear)
  • SoulCycle x Sundae (Workout and recovery protein milkshakes)
  • Free People x Gola (Activewear meets vintage fashion aesthetic)
  • Rapha x Bamford (Performance bikewear meets outdoor lifestyle accessories)
  • Furthermore, x Wildist (Sustainable wellness products and travel lifestyle)

When you are a cohesive lifestyle brand with an established brand universe and community, you become an irresistible dance partner for all brands who want to tap into your lifestyle cachet.

It's about finding the right aligned partners who resonate with your specific lifestyle vibe and can co-create product experiences that elevate both brands in a very on-brand way.

To make that happen, get proactive about identifying and pitching strategic collaboration opportunities to brands that marry well with your lifestyle territory.

Some tips for pitching collaborations as a lifestyle brand:

  • Always lead with how you'd enhance each other's core lifestyle value propositions and aesthetics
  • Emphasise your hyper-engaged community and ability to provide a turnkey lifestyle audience
  • Propose creative, tangible collaboration concepts rather than just theoretical partnerships
  • Highlight your track record with any existing successful lifestyle brand collabs
  • Offer to bundle it with experiences, events, meetups or other immersive lifestyle activations

The more you can pitch well-developed integration and activation concepts upfront that align perfectly with both brands' lifestyles, the better your chances of getting a “Yes!”

Don't get overzealous and take on partnerships that could overcomplicate your brand identity or dilute your core lifestyle focus and audience. The best collaborations are ones that very clearly reinforce and extend the lifestyle you're known for.

Done strategically, partnerships and collaborations enable lifestyle brands to expand rapidly into new categories and geographies by piggybacking on aligned products and audiences. It's an accelerant for amplifying your aspirational lifestyle wherever it resonates.

More Tips for Building a Magnetic Lifestyle Brand

Soulcycle Lifestyle Brand Identity

Creating a wildly successful lifestyle brand takes more than just having excellent products. It's an all-encompassing brand universe and worldview that customers buy into to showcase their identity and aspirations.

Beyond developing a solid positioning, cohesive aesthetic, branded lifestyle experiences, thriving community, and collaboration plays, here are some miscellaneous tips for building a genuinely magnetic lifestyle brand:

Lean Into Polarisation and Strong Beliefs

Don't be afraid to be polarising and take controversial stands aligned with your lifestyle. The brands that spark obsession have strong beliefs that repel some but attract die-hard loyalty from those who resonate. Embrace taking bold positions that fuel conversation.

Foster Word of Mouth to the Extreme

With lifestyle brands, viral word-of-mouth referrals and organic buzz are everything. So, create reasons for your community to constantly share content, refer friends, and gush about your brand in any way possible. This compounds long-term growth.

Partner With Iconic Lifestyle Figures

Whether it's your founder's brand or working with external influencers, aligning your lifestyle brand with human figureheads people admire strengthens resonance and aspiration. Find icons whose lifestyles personify your brand.

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Think Longevity Over Short-Term Fads

While you may latch onto a current lifestyle microtrend for positioning, ensure your overall brand has enduring relevance and depth. Your goal is a lifestyle people never outgrow versus chasing ephemeral fads.

Reinvent Your Lifestyle Periodically

That said, successful lifestyle brands do evolve with cultural and societal changes. So, have a pulse on emerging lifestyle value shifts related to your brand so you can reinvent proactively. You want to remain a trendsetter, not fall behind.

Find Lifestyle-Aligned Acquisition Targets

As you scale, use mergers and acquisitions to fold in relevant brands, products, and communities that ladder up to expand your overall lifestyle ecosystem and offerings.

Rent/Design Immersive Lifestyle Spaces

Immersive physical spaces fully embodying your lifestyle – from retail to experiential activations – can be powerful. If you can't acquire the real estate, get creative with short-term rentals, popups and custom-designed spaces.

Building a thriving lifestyle brand that breeds true devotion is both an art and a science. There's the analytical side of solidifying your positioning, marketing playbooks and operational functions. However, it also requires creative lifestyle storytelling that taps into deeper human emotions and desires for identity, community, and transformative experiences.

Master both, and you'll have the passionate following powering a lifestyle brand that rises above just selling commodities into an entire culture and way of life.

Lifestyle Brand FAQs

What does it mean to be a lifestyle brand?

A lifestyle brand represents a specific attitude, value system, and way of life that appeals strongly to a particular target market. Rather than being centred on commodities or services alone, it creates an emotional bond with its customers by acting as an embodiment of the kind of existence they want.

Why do lifestyle brands succeed so much?

Lifestyle brands resonate well with their intended audience by tapping into their wants and aspirations. People are buying things and buying into a way of life represented by such brands. This connection breeds loyalists who can even go overboard in defending it wherever necessary.

Can you give any examples of popular lifestyle brands?

Some famous instances of successful lifestyle brands include Patagonia (outdoor adventure), Goop (wellness & sustainability), Harley-Davidson (freedom & rebellion) and Red Bull (adventure & extreme sports).

How do I determine what my brand’s lifestyle is?

Begin by identifying your target market clearly and finding out what values, interests, and aspirations drive them. Then, create an emotional link by designing a lifestyle around those ideals. Take into account brand character features as well as visual identity elements along with messaging strategies employed.

Is authenticity important for a lifestyle brand?

Yes! Authenticity is vital when it comes down to this type of branding approach: if people sense that something is not accurate here, neither will it's credibility nor emotional appeal towards consumers – therefore, such businesses must always remain true to themselves!

What should I do to build a community around my lifestyle brand?

Allow customers to connect through various channels provided by the company where they get acquainted with your product/service. These may include events, online forums, or social media groups; physical spaces such as branded stores/stalls; and foster belongingness based on shared values among members while promoting active participation within such communities.

How does social media contribute to the development of a lifestyle brand?

Social media helps promote a lifestyle brand by demonstrating what it stands for and connecting with its target audience. Consistently sharing content that supports a desired way of living while inspiring followers is vital.

What strategies can I use in influencer marketing for my lifestyle brand?

Identify influencers who genuinely live out the kind of life you want people to associate with your product/service. Collaborate with them on creating posts or videos showing how great/valuable your goods/services are when used within such context, thus simultaneously building trustworthiness and aspirational appeal.

How should I measure success metrics for my lifestyle brand?

Apart from traditional indicators like sales or site traffic numbers, engagement levels among users should be considered paramount alongside emotional attachment towards the user-generated content creation process. Monitoring social media interactions around this topic area can provide qualitative insights into what customers think about their experience(s) associated with that particular organisation’s offerings.

What challenges might one encounter when trying to build up their own personal lifestyle brand identity?

As a brand gear, keeping realness intact becomes harder while staying relevant over time, which may prove difficult, too. Additionally, managing an ever-growing online/offline community plus consistently coming up with fresh, exciting material will demand considerable dedication and resources from any company looking forward towards making itself known by establishing brands based on people’s ways of being

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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