Lifestyle Brands

Lifestyle Brands Are Building Hotels Now. Here’s Why That Actually Makes Sense - Harvard Business Review

Excerpt from Harvard Business Review

These days, it seems, every brand wants to be a 'lifestyle brand.'

A recent article in The New York Times chronicled a few examples: Godiva wants “to be seen as a lifestyle brand by leveraging its culinary experience to expand beyond chocolates,” and Blue Apron sees itself as “a strong consumer lifestyle brand that [plays]…a more meaningful role in its customers’ lives.” But how do you turn these aims into action? Here’s a radical idea: Consider building a hotel. After all, what more visceral, intimate way is there for you to articulate and communicate the lifestyle attributes of your brand than to invite customers to live in a space that reflects those attributes?

Peddling burritos? “Our ultimate marketing mission is to make Chipotle not just a food brand but a purpose-driven lifestyle brand,” the company’s new head of marketing said. Selling sweets? Godiva wants “to be seen as a lifestyle brand by leveraging [our] culinary experience to expand beyond chocolates,” a statement read. Shipping meal-preparation kits to families? Blue Apron, its new CEO argued, sees itself as “a strong consumer lifestyle brand that [plays]…a more meaningful role in our customers’ lives.”

All three examples appeared in a recent article in the New York Times, which both chronicled and raised a skeptical eyebrow about the commitment of so many brands, in some pretty prosaic industries, to becoming lifestyle brands. What the Times (and, I fear, many of the brands themselves) could not quite identity were how to turn these aims into action. Chipotle is running ads on water-cooler shows and sponsoring Fortnite players, the article noted. Blue Apron has experimented with “cooking classes, movie screenings, and chef panels” in cool cities. Godiva “would like people to stop in one of its shops for coffee in the morning and a snack in the afternoon.”

Surely marketers with big dreams can come up with bolder real-world strategies than these. So allow me to suggest one radical idea: If you want to build a lifestyle brand, no matter the industry you’re in, consider building a hotel. After all, what more visceral, intimate way is there for you to articulate and communicate the lifestyle attributes of your brand than to invite customers to live in a space that reflects those attributes?

Click here to read complete article at Harvard Business Review.