Friday, June 17, 2011

Positioning Your Brand as a Lifestyle Brand is Suicide

Everyone wants to be the next Virgin, Ralph Lauren, Harley Davidson or Trump. I don’t recommend it for any company because once you step out of your core discipline you start to dilute what the brand originally stood for. I’ve personally tried to position a company I was involved in, in the past, which could have worked but it was premature for an early stage company.

Lifestyle brands are suicide because they require constant nurturing, change-ups, repositions, commitment, and resources. Take Virgin for an example, its brand name is in every business and yet many consumers will not be able to describe the characteristics of a Virgin brand because it’s lost the original representation, which I believe began with Virgin Records. The Trump brand, Donald Trump, clearly is a luxury brand. Originally began in fine living homes for the rich. Now the brand is placed on clothes, beds, casinos, schools, books, TV show and it is too dependent on the personality of Donald Trump not his kids. Not one of his kids has the larger-than-life personality that can match. Either Virgin or Trump is not suffering today but within 5 – 10 years their relevance could be questioned.

Instead of competing in a smaller pool of competitors for consumer attention you end up competing in an ocean filled with whales, sharks, to the want-to-be. Recent news, footwear company Puma wants to position its self as a lifestyle brand which just leaves Nike and Adidas to split the pie.

My advice to any company contemplating this market strategy should be aware that you will now be competing with numerous lifestyle brands. Oprah could easily have created lifestyle brands but she stayed with TV and magazines. Even Bill Gates could have had is own energy drink. McDonalds could create its own beverage labels possibly call it, “McCoke”. McDonalds sticks to what it knows and does well.

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