Many brands aspire to become lifestyle brands. Lifestyle brands are seen as the pinnacle of marketing. Marketers elevate these brands beyond functional attribute to higher-order benefits. Consumers express their identities through these brands. This strategy promises differentiation and growth.
One of the reasons that method succeeded was its positioning as a lifestyle brand in the commodity category of household cleaning. Method wasn’t just a hand wash or a shower cleaner. It was a lifestyle brand that stood for something greater.
Yet the pursuit of becoming a lifestyle brand can also lead brands astray. It can give brands a false sense of confidence to stretch into other categories. It can cause brands to pay less attention to what really worked for consumers at the start. If they’re not careful, they risk diluting the brand.
“We make jeans. That’s it. Nothing else. No distractions. Nothing to steal our focus. No kidding ourselves that we can be good at everything. No trying to conquer the whole world. We just do our best to conquer our bit of it.”
Not every brand can or should become a Ralph Lauren. When elevating to higher-order benefits, it’s important that brands don’t lose sight of the product. Emotional benefits are shallow if there aren’t functional benefits to back them up.