Lifestyle Brands: A Guide To Aspirational Marketing – Introduction and Chapter 1

In the book, Lifestyle Brands: A Guide To Aspirational Marketing, written by Stefania Saviolo (professor of management in fashion, luxury and creative industries at Bocconi University, Italy) and Antonio Marazza (the general manager of Landor Milan). I have been able to find out a lot more about lifestyle branding within fashion and how and why is works.

What are lifestyle brands? 

lifestyle brand is a brand that attempts to embody the interests, attitudes and opinions of a group or a culture.
- Definition taken from Wiki

In Chapter One, Brands and Social Identities: An Increasingly Strong Connection.

They talk about social identity and

  • ‘The independent ‘self” – this is the search for true autonomy and uniqueness with respect to others.
  • ‘The interdependent ‘self” – who looks for consent and approval, from those reference groups they repute to be important.

“Products are a symbol of status, signalling and possibly helping to improve on individuals social status.” [Chapter 1, page 7]

  • Times/places/situations of consumption
  • Various ‘experts’ try to guide our choices in directions (from journalists to architects, from chefs to ecologists)

“Consumer sociologists in turn explained that individuals do not make purchasing choices using rational logic of economic convenience.” [Chapter 1, page 7]

“This category of brands is adopted not only for its functional characteristics, but above all, for the symbolism and significance it transmits, allowing a consumer to express his or her identity, to signal status or manifest a sense of belonging to a group. In this text, we have defined this category of as brands as symbol intensive.” [introduction, page 1]

Rifkin an economic and social theorist said “Consumer is defined as a creative interpreter, reciting the various scripts staged by the cultural market.”

Brands must understand the chaotic context in which people live and use their product.
‘The brand can also take on a social role, they help consumers to orient themselves and guide their choices, especially within poorly differentiated product categories, such as detergents and food products.’ [chapter 1, page 11]
“Brands have also responded in recent years by reinforcing the ethical dimension and dialogue with the customer through a reversal of information flow logic – from push to pull – and a new focus  on customer relationship marketing systems.” [Chapter 1, Page 11]

‘Identity represents contemporary obsession’
“Clients become ambassadors, fans, brand champions, who declare that if the brand were to cease to exist, it would have a negative impact on their lives. They find the brand irreplaceable.” [Introduction, page 2]
This shows that consumers are becoming obsessed with the brand, or the experience they get from the brand? They gain customers like this through their ‘lack of’ sales and traditional advertising, for years, brands like Abercrombie and Fitch have been absent from end of season sales, and no one can ever remember when Apple held a sale? Other brands such as Volcom and Patagonia never used traditional advertising, but who are they?

Abraham Maslow, psychologist of  the heirarchy of needs said “man, is a perpetually wanting animal” [Maslow, chapter 1, page 12] ‘An animal wants things, which will never cease to follow its desire for gratification and expression through brands’ [chapter 1, page 12]

New digital media – blogs, social networks – consumers use these to express themselves.
“The phase of establishing a dialogue between the brand and its customer is evolving as well. The generic ‘talk with your customer’ is not enough if the dialogue is not aimed a result. In a society  that demands authenticity and value through innovation, the brand must have its own vision of the future and set out to achieve a positive impact on the lives of it’s customers.”[chapter 1, page 12]

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