How to staff a lifestyle brand
Lifestyle brands must, necessarily, run marketing campaigns on two fronts. Since these brands sell an experience, they compete not only with direct, industry rivals, but also with unrelated brands that sell alternative experiences to consumers. Good staffing is the key to marketing your lifestyle brand across industries.
In the United States, a joint study by professors at the Kellogg School and Emory University found that social media, experiential marketing, and mass customization give consumers more opportunity to express themselves than ever before. By selling their products as experiences, however, lifestyle brands from different industries find themselves, strangely, at odds with one another.
The study found that the advertising campaigns of a popular lifestyle brand in the United States – like Gillette, Abercrombie & Fitch, Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, Apple, or Facebook – directly affects consumers’ opinions of the other brands. This is despite the fact that these lifestyle brands sell completely different products.
In experiential marketing, inter-industry competition, both in the streets and at promotional events, is clear. Your campaign, and your staff, must compete with each participating brand, regardless of industry, for the attention of passersby and event goers.
Event staff for lifestyle brands must captivate consumers not only by successfully demonstrating the product the brand sells, but also by demonstrating how the experience the brand sells is better than other, seemingly unrelated brand’s experiences. Experiential marketing campaigns, run by professional and brand-appropriate staff, are key to successfully promoting a lifestyle brand.
Competence with your product, professionalism, and good grooming are the basic tenants of event staffing, but lifestyle brands add a layer of complexity on top of that. Good event staffers are actually brand ambassadors that embody the ideal lifestyle your product represents.
At a product launch, event, or promotion, brand ambassadors represent your brand’s appearance, demeanor, values and ethics to potential customers. Successful brand ambassadors embody a positive image of your brand, consistent with the strengths of your company and product.
In the early days of big brand endorsement, the ideal brand ambassador was always a well-known celebrity that unabashedly adhered to the hegemonic values of mass culture such as physical beauty (unfortunately aligned with thinness and whiteness) and financial or career success.
Today, there is no objectively ideal brand ambassador. As the Kellogg School and Emory University study found, social media, experiential marketing, and mass customization give consumers more opportunity to express themselves than ever before. And not all consumers are using this freedom of expression to express themselves in line with the values that celebrity brand ambassadors traditionally represent.
Staff your lifestyle brand, then, with energetic, personable, and interesting brand ambassadors, rather than the conventional two-dimensional celebrity type. Experience is all about adding dimension to your product, so choose real people who authentically embody the experience your brand sells.
With lifestyle branding, the product itself is almost irrelevant to the marketing strategy (brands are, after all, competing for customers across multiple industries). A staff made up of living, breathing people who are authentic role models for your lifestyle is, then, your campaign’s greatest asset for both intra-industry and inter-industry competition.