Breathing Life into your Brand
Connection. If there is anything this year has taught us, it has been the necessity of true connection. While the ways we have connected over this year have continued to shift—and as we prepare to connect over the holidays in a very different way—the essence of the things that join and connect us remain the same. Trust. Love. Understanding.
In a space dominated by misinformation overload, consumers are craving stability and trust more than ever. Agility, authenticity, and trust are words that have dominated the marketing space, representing the transitions showing up on our feeds and streams daily. In truth, 2020 has made us all pause. And be just a little more mindful. About how we exercise. How we interact with our friends and family. How we eat. How we shop. It speaks to how we interact with those around us. How we socialize, gather news and are entertained. And no matter what industry we are in, we have all had to stand up and take note.
The integration and surge in the use of lifestyle content embodies this shift. Social media influencers and lifestyle content creators are now key elements of a marketing proposal as brands and businesses attempt to meet their consumers where they are. In essence, inbound marketing strategies that provide value for consumers, strategies that are thoughtful, conscious and mindful.
How do you integrate lifestyle content in a meaningful way? Let’s count the ways…
- Find out more about your consumer. Are you sure that you know? Where do they eat? How do they bank? How do they workout? It’s harder to meet the consumer where they are and create meaningful content if you do not know who they are. A survey offers a great opportunity to create a clearer profile of your consumer. From this profile you are better able to tailor a strategy that speaks to the persona of your brand, which can then help develop the values that will influence the strategy. Ask them questions…not only will this increase your knowledge about your “consumer”, but it will also increase engagement.
- Showcase your values. Once you have determined who your consumer (or ideal consumer) is, it’s time to build out this persona on a more esoteric level. What do they believe? How do they look at life? What’s important to them.
2020 was a year that truly spotlighted the shift from consumerism to social activism and politics. Whilst social media has always been a space for social activism injustice—for activists to “gather” and orchestrate their movements, and mobilizing a whole new generation to vote—social media became the front line for everything that was happening. It brought people together for a common cause (both positive and negative), and again encouraged businesses to transition from their “business-as-usual” approach to recognizing that business could no longer be conducted in the same way.
According to social media app Later, over 21M #BlackoutTuesday posts were shared on Instagram in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in June. 21 million. The platform drew millions of people together, crossed geographical boundaries and united us all. Whether your brand or business decides to take a stance, or deliberately not take a stance, your passive reaction may speak louder. Just ensure you are able to stand behind your decision and are committed to your message.
- Go to them. Hands up if you are tired of hearing the word “pivot”. Hands up also if you took an online yoga or baking class in the past 8 months. 2020 has catapulted brands out of brick-and-mortar storefronts , and directly into our homes. They were forced to pivot (there’s that word again!) and were forced to recalibrate marketing plans, to connect with their consumers in ways and through channels where they were populating…brands made the move and met the consumers where they were.
Whether it was through Instagram and Facebook Live, or TikTok, fitness brands hosted workout classes; appliance brands led home-baking workshops; and just in case you wanted to perfect those makeup skills for when road a keepagain, Insta-famous MUA’s led makeup tutorials. In fact, stats show that there was a 70% increase in Instagram Lives between February and March this year, an increase that led to Instagram finding a way to monetize this with Instagram Live Shopping and Instagram Live Badges (not yet available in Jamaica). These features enabled followers to holistically experience the product and then purchase them—all without leaving the app—ultimately driving sales for businesses and brands, and connecting with consumers in ways they had never done so before. Necessity is the mother of all invention, so they say, and they did what was necessary.
- Everyday, people. You want people to think about your brand or business everyday. Integrating lifestyle content into your marketing strategy, in an authentic way, can transition your brand into different arenas. For example, a juice brand wants to exist outside the “breakfast drink” arena? So, integrate it into a dinner recipe for chicken tacos; cocktails for ladies night, or recycle the bottles and make crafts with the kids. Highlight the team members; show the company delivering in different communities, and now the juice exists beyond the supermarket shelves, and have a more soulful presence.
- Behind the Scenes. Story-telling is a critical part of marketing, especially now. Behind-the-scenes content enables brands to showcase their process, which provides an opportunity for their followers to get a better sense of who they are. What goes into the production, and ultimately provides added value to the brand or product. It also removes the “mystery”, which allows consumers a closer and more honest connection and understanding of the business.
Lifestyle content doesn’t ask anything of your followers. It does not require a call to action. You are not trying to “sell” them anything. It is about connecting with your consumer. Letting them know that you understand. That you hear them. That you feel it too. It lets them know that we are in this together. Side-by-side.