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Francis Santos

How Lifestyle Content Builds Companies’ Online Branding

Feb 16 2012, 06:46 PM by

The internet has had a profound effect on numerous industries. Take the writing game, for example. Not too long ago, it was either major publication or bust for the aspiring journalist. Today, journalists can make a name for themselves by writing for a who’s who of internet brands. The would-be author had to play the agent game just to attract the attention of a publisher. Nowadays, authors can reach the best seller’s list without the aid of an agent or publisher, and this is due in large part to the doors that have been opened by the internet.

Even the writing itself has changed in the internet era. Back in the day, a journalist writing a piece for a newspaper or magazine communicated with their audience through a one-way channel. Thanks to the proliferation of blogging and social media, journalists are now communicating in a tone that makes their voice more conversational and suitable for feedback. Brands are also taking a different approach in their writing, and the lifestyle element is playing a bigger role than ever.
Accommodating the Lavish Lifestyle
Best known for its membership-based site exclusively made for luxury bargain hunters, Gilt Groupe is currently thriving on the strength of its lifestyle content. The company is executing its strategy through various brands, including Gilt Man, a Groupon-like service that provides members with deals on luxury events, products and services, as well as Gilt Taste, a gourmet e-commerce shop that doubles as an interactive magazine featuring recipes and stories from chefs and experts in the food industry. To handle content production, Gilt Groupe has assembled a staff of high profile writers and editors.
Stars Shining Bright
Another example of a notable brand leveraging lifestyle content is popular video sharing site YouTube. The online video giant recently announced its original content program, an initiative that some are predicting will cause a stir in the paid TV industry by giving consumers additional entertainment options. Google, YouTube’s owner, has invested $100 million to bring celebrities onboard, who will drive the initiative by operating their own channels. The new YouTube program will feature content produced by celebrity brands that range from Warner Brothers and The Wall Street Journal to Shaquille O’Neal and hip hop mogul Jay Z.
From Car Maker to Band Promoter
Last but not least, one of the most interesting and unique examples of a brand using lifestyle content in their marketing is Toyota. The Japanese car maker decided to capitalize on this increasingly popular trend by using its resources to back a variety of independent music acts, with the ultimate goal being to attract younger consumers to the Scion brand of automobiles it launched in 2003. All in all, Toyota sponsored full campaigns complete with album releases, music videos and concert tours for roughly 20 acts. A spokesperson for the company says that as soon as competitors start jumping on the bandwagon, it will move along to something else.
Growing Importance of the Lifestyle Element
The lifestyles of consumers have changed dynamically in the internet age. For this reason, it is essential for brands to adapt in a way that aligns their marketing strategies with the values, interests, needs and wants of their audience. Whether it is incorporating a social component, adding different types of content to the mix or sponsoring a cause, they must continually repackage their existing material and innovate new offerings around the lifestyles of the consumer. Those who are able to do this effectively will find themselves at the front of the finish line when the dust settles.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Online Branding

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