Over the last week of our lifestyle brands series, we explored some popular lifestyle brands along with the secret-ingredient elements that make them up. Today, we're looking at how you can start to build your own; transforming your non profit or company into a stunning lifestyle brand. Let's begin.

Turning an average brand into a lifestyle brand takes time, intentional effort and a little bit of je ne sais quoi. While it can be difficult to take emotional connection and boil it down to tactics, there are a few things you can do to start elevating your brand to lifestyle status:

  • Know your tribe. Lifestyle brands cannot be everything to everyone. In fact, their success is predicated on the fact that they instead speak into certain subcultures and their unique identities and interests. Define your audiences, and not just through demographic markers. Focus on the goals, beliefs, values and lifestyles of the people your brand reaches, let go of the audiences you can’t reach and hone your marketing to your tribe.
  • Create great – really great – branding. Brands that are beautiful, consistent and meaningful, both in terms of visuals and messaging, are more likely to garner emotional attachment – plus, you want people to be proud to rock your t-shirt.
  • Invest in internal culture. The experience a customer has with your brand is really the experience they have with your people. Create fans out of your employees, offer unforgettable customer service and give your crew the chance to live out your brand, whether that’s time off for outdoor adventures, free healthy lunches or branded swag.
  • Get social. The LaCroix case study is a great look into social marketing, including influencer outreach, corporate engagement with customers’ photos and simply creating something that people love to share. According to Vox on the power of social sharing, “This is a tiny part of who I am, we're saying every time we share what we're eating or drinking or reading, and hope that someone nods back with a double-tapped heart.” Social media is the ultimate form of self-expression, so create ways for people to express themselves with your brand on their personal channels.
  • Create content about your customers, not your product. Content marketing is hardly optional anymore, but a lot of brands simply focus on creating content around what they do. Great content-minded brands create informative and inspirational content about their customers: about their pain points, their interests and their lives. 
  • Be present. Like any relationship, sometimes all it really takes is showing up. Brand awareness is a key part of building a lifestyle brand, and this is a time when advertising, gorgeous cinematic video and other tactics that help you stay top of mind and part of people’s lives can be worth the price tag.

So why are more non profits not considered lifestyle brands? For one, we’re all inherently selfish, and it can be difficult to get people highly engaged with something that does not directly benefit them. But for passionate and cause-oriented individuals, their giving IS part of their lifestyle, identity and aspiration.

So how can you be the cause they love to champion? For starters, make your supporters the hero. Too often, non profits fail to tell their stories in compelling ways or they make the story all about them, where lifestyle brands are all about the individual. Then, invest in beautiful branding, make your supporters feel special (nonprofits can offer unforgettable customer experiences too!), create social tactics and great content that educates people about making a difference and watch the way you go from tax write off to cause of choice.

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