How To Launch Your Very Own Lifestyle Brand
Always wanted to launch your own lifestyle brand? Think you’ve got what it takes to create an engaged community of brand advocates? Traditional 9-5 jobs are losing their appeal as technology gives us the tools to live the dream — and we can certainly see why. Discover our top tips for turning your passion for your lifestyle into a business.
Which Niche Should You Choose?
I know you’re eager to get started — and that’s great. You’ll need that passion and energy to successfully build your business. But before you jump in, have you made a proper plan?
First up, you’re going to need to decide on a niche. Whether you are interested in fashion, music, health, or culture; you need to choose a focus for your brand. Without a focus your voice will be lost amongst an ocean of competitors and your potential audience won’t be able to find you.
Whether you already think you know what kind of lifestyle brand you want to launch, or you’re still unsure, give this some serious thought.
Here are two easy steps to help you choose your niche:
1. Pick Your Passion
The key point here is that a lifestyle brand (to an extent) represents real life, and is more than just a business. The more real you can make your lifestyle brand, the more success you will have.
So, when launching your brand, don’t just think of it as a business. See it as a representation of an aspect of your life which you are interested in and passionate about.
This will almost guarantee your authenticity, giving your lifestyle brand the voice and audience it needs in order to succeed.
2. Do Your Research
Once you’ve chosen a niche, make sure you do some research into the potential market before moving forward.
Use Google Keyword Planner tools to analyze whether there is an organic search market for your niche by looking at search and audience statistics. Google’s tools can be limited, so your also check out paid SEO alternatives such as SEMrush if you plan to heavily rely on organic traffic.
In addition to analyzing SEO data, your initial research should look at the competitor landscape in your chosen niche.
Look at your competitors’ online presence as a whole, including their social media and email marketing campaigns to determine what you’re up against and how you can pitch yourself differently.
What’s Your Story? Define Your USP
How are you going to pitch yourself? What’s your USP? Most startups die. Fact. Why should your lifestyle brand succeed over other established, seriously cool names?
It’s all very well deciding that you’re going to give up your day job to start a new career as a digital nomad selling bamboo watches online, but I bet that market is more saturated than you think.
The whole point of creating a brand – whether it be lifestyle, clothing or sports – is that you are creating an image, a story — something MUCH more than just a company name.
And the whole point of working for yourself is that you have complete control over how you spend your time, and the causes and values you align yourself and your business with.
Combine all of this passion – the story, the values – with a solid business model, taking into account what your audience is asking for to discover your USP. Startups which recognize the value of this exercise are the ones that will survive.
Adopt An MVP Approach: Prioritize Channels
OK, so you’re really getting serious now. You’re inspired. You’ve picked your niche, done your research, found your USP, and are ready to get going.
Any entrepreneur considering launching a lifestyle brand in 2018 must put together a comprehensive strategy. You will need to put a real emphasis on digital opportunities and online platforms. Content and social are growing in their importance, with everybody recognizing the central place of social proof.
Thankfully, there are so many tools out there that most savvy entrepreneurs will be able to get started on their lifestyle brand using easily-accessible and affordable online resources.
Depending on your chosen niche and USP, there may be a channel that stands out as a good place to start when launching your lifestyle brand. Here are some ideas:
Video If you were doing something adventurous — like sailing around the world and launching a sailing travel brand — you might want to focus on video blogging and YouTube. Video is a super engaging and cost-effective storytelling format.
Blogging Want to launch a modern art news brand? Creating a blog through WordPress may be where your focus lies. It’s one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to become a digital content creator.
Photo Strong images tell a thousand words. Engagement on platforms such as Instagram can be incredibly important for visual brand, as well as any new ecommerce brands. Hook your online store up with your social profiles and continue on the same visual story no matter where your customers are.
Website Every brand needs a website. Create one using Squarespace or WordPress and use your website to give your lifestyle brand a professional start.
App Got an idea for matching local rock climbers with each other? Use online freelancer marketplaces such as Upwork.com to connect with developers who can make your idea come true without prohibitive startup costs.
Eventually, your lifestyle brand will need to make use of all of these channels and resources. The key thing for launching your brand is to identify and focusing on the core platforms you can begin with. Focus on your minimum viable product, and build on it as soon as you start getting feedback about your initial offering.
A Word on Social Media
Social media is THE place to be if you are launching a lifestyle brand in 2018. Why?
- It’s the ideal place for encounters with your customer base
- It’s your #1 product and market research and feedback tool
- It’s the place for sharing visual content quickly and painlessly (ideal for lifestyle imagery).
Check out the gorgeous insta feed from Mahabis:
Muted, calm, sensitive, elegant — their imagery is perfectly aligned with their brand. It’s a good example of how a lifestyle brand can use moodboarding in order to elevate gray slippers into something way, way cooler.
Another gorgeous example is the feed from Maison Margiela:
Their famous Replica scents have an edgy, almost dangerous, edge that makes them stand out from the usually corny and blah perfume adverts.
Both brands have taken very different approaches, but they both show a strong commitment to a clear and clean brand aesthetic. It’s worth doing the same for yours when crafting out your social strategy.
To launch a successful lifestyle brand (no matter what your niche), there are some key elements you need to get right. Without a defined USP and an exciting story to tell, your brand will struggle against the tide of competition. What is the market telling you? How can you reach a well-defined audience?
Prioritize the best platforms to launch your brand, and research the tools available to build your presence. By tying together passion and technology, you can launch your own lifestyle brand that will tell a true story.