Lifestyle brands are becoming something of a hot and growing trend. This emerging branding strategy is becoming highly influential. Simply, it’s no longer about the product. But rather, it’s about the lifestyle that a brand entails. It’s about everything else that comes with the ideals of that brand. Aspects of investment and being included in a community to being part of the story are all crucial characteristics to the relationship Millennials have with brands.
What Lifestyle Brands Mean to Millennials
From Apple to Old Spice, use and functionality have taken a back seat to lifestyle. Values that once were held towards products no longer exist in the same sense. Millennials don’t look at products in the same respect as those of older consumers. Old mentalities that focused on price, use and luxury are gone. New mentalities – and the ones Milllennials highly value – are based on investment, community and being part of the story.
Millennials resonate with lifestyle brands for a variety of reasons. They highly believe in personal extension through brands. Each purchase itself is a statement. Each purchase is strategically calculated. Each purchase is based on the products invested value, what that product brings in terms of being “in” particular communities and where we, the Millennials, fit into the story.
Values Behind the Brand
When we talk about brand investment, we’re not talking about dollars gained. Rather we’re looking at a valued-based return on investment (ROI). This value-based ROI is imperative for Millennials. If the product is known for great longevity, outstanding quality and helps us establish who we are, we’re getting the necessary return and will gladly invest into buying that product. No matter what the actual cost is and if we can truly afford it.
While we continue to extend who we are, we look to others to relate to. Brand communities are becoming more prevalent and continue to grow. It’s not just a matter of enjoying something and having it. It’s about being that Facebook fan. It’s about being part of the “club”. Two products can serve the exact same purpose. However our growing societal perceptions can clearly crave out two different niches.
This can be easily understood with an iPhone and BlackBerry comparison. Just sit there for a minute and think of all the differences you can come up. It’s pretty amazing actually. Two products that do essentially the same thing exemplify two completely different lifestyles. Although BlackBerrys have a greater market share, the iPhone has a distinct and visible club membership that would make you think otherwise.
Being A Part of…
The idea of community can also be extended to other brands. Certain brand communities say certain things and allow you to fulfill certain lifestyles. If you dress like this or if you drive in that, your part a particular community. It has Millennials thinking of their dreams now. Ironically though, it really has nothing to do with prestige or brand hierarchy. And I say that because the majority of Millennials can hardly be considered prestigious or truly afford brands that the upper echelons of society purchase. However, this doesn’t stop for purchasing these brands.
And although the Millennials don’t look at prestige and brand hierarchy, they value the story behind the brand. They value the nostalgia that the brand itself seems to instil within us. And the more the brand is able to incorporate our story into their process, the more it becomes a part of our life. The story, but more importantly being part of it, has a profound effect. So profound that Millennials will in fact purchase the smart phones, the designer jeans, the handbags and anything else that falls into their dream lifestyle. The values of lifestyle brands justify the costs.
As Millennials continually pursue their dream-life, lifestyle brands will keep their prominence and continue to emerge. No matter what the cost and no matter if this young generation can actually afford these products, Millennials will purchase these brands as long as they fulfill their lifestyle conditions. Just remember, it’s not about the product. It’s about the invested value, the community and the story that a brand delivers.