Branding Lifestyles: What Does Your Brand Represent?

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Hard work, family, outdoors, learning—what does your brand represent? Each branding campaign or identity system has a distinct voice or emotion to it, and these often fall into common categories and themes.

A brand’s identity is often manifested in the product’s package design, so creating a solid connection between these two elements is undoubtedly a crucial step in any branding or package design process. With the Pro Series: Put Your Best Brand Forward Kit, you’ll discover how to not only develop a successful brand and identity design strategy, but also find out how to apply this strategy to impactful design for packaging and more.

Get the Pro Series: Put Your Best Brand Forward Kit here.

In the meantime, John Parham, President and Director of Branding at Parham Santana, originally wrote the following piece for HOW Magazine—now published in HOW Design’s Guide to Branding. Parham has spent the past 25 years developing big picture strategies for his client’s branding, licensing and seasonal programs. He also contributes to Parham Santana’s Extendonomics blog, Fast Co.Design and AMEX OPEN Forum.


Cult of Personality: What Lifestyle Does Your Brand Represent?

There’s a bit of a mythical aura around the term “lifestyle brand.” It’s something everyone seems to be reaching for, but what does it mean, exactly? And how can lifestyle status help your brand grow?

A true lifestyle brand is all about personality. It helps consumers define who they are and how they want to live—to themselves and others. And when your brand represents a lifestyle, you often own a distinct visual style that you can apply to products in a wide range of categories.

This desirable look and feel represents a way of life, and it might hint at everything from values and interests to a distinct culture. So what lifestyle does your brand represent? It might be almost anything. Here’s what some successful lifestyle brands embody:


In times of economic uncertainty, consumers revert to nesting. My agency helped “Better Homes and Gardens” capitalize on this renewed focus on family life by extending its magazine brand to more than 550 products sold exclusively at Walmart—everything from linens and furniture to cookware. The line’s brand promise? Fall in love with your home all over again.


Originally built by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC, represents a lavish lifestyle. This sprawling historic home and estate lends its name to a range of luxury products through licensing: wine, gourmet food, landscaping, lighting and many others.


Many brands represent the tradition of hard work. Caterpillar, for instance, makes heavy construction equipment, but they’ve expanded into shoes, clothing, outdoor equipment and even toys. The Discovery Channel licensed the name of its “Dirty Jobs” TV show, where host Mike Rowe tries out the dirtiest jobs around, for a line of cleaning products. These brand extensions appeal to everyone from construction workers to weekend outdoorsmen.


Last Spring, “Southern Living” magazine partnered with Ballard Designs to launch the Southern Living Collection. It features dishes, glasses, napkins, silverware and other tabletop accessories—all the stylish things you’d need to host a party that lives up the photos and ideas shown in the magazine. It’s a perfect extension for a brand that represents Southern style, charm and entertaining.


Jeep represents the freedom of driving off-road, and to capitalize on this perception, the brand has licensed its name for a range of products: clothing, knives, tents, bicycles, baby strollers and more.


The Discovery Channel helps the intellectually curious discover new things. My agency helped them leverage this learning lifestyle with brand extensions that ranged from toys to digital voice recorders. Each one helps consumers explore their world.


Nike’s founder’s observation, “If you have a body, you are an athlete,” has set the tone and direction for the brand. Originally a line of running shoes, Nike-branded products now include athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities.

Does your brand represent one of these lifestyles? Or a different one completely? It might be the best way to extend your brand. And develop a cult-like following among consumers who want to live your brand’s lifestyle.

In the Pro Series: Put Your Best Brand Forward Kit, you’ll discover the identity design process of legendary designers Tom Geismar, Ivan Chermayeff, and Sagi Haviv. You’ll learn how to further develop your brand from Scott Lermanwho explores the frameworks he uses for developing and redefining brands. Learn how to incorporate inspiration into your design process for logo design, rather than just getting an array of already completed logos to stare at.

Get the Pro Series: Put Your Best Brand Forward Kit here.