‘Lifestyle PR’ sounds rather grand, and those who practice it, believe it truly is! Promoting companies that provide discretional goods and services, for which we all love to spend money, is not a mean task and requires DECCA – Dedication, Excellence, Consistency, Confidence and Ambition.
The term “lifestyle” is commonly understood as the style in which people live their lives. It covers all that people aspire for, including fashion, beauty, travel, accessories, food, fitness, luxury goods like cars, fine jewellery &watches, personal trainers, etc. So lifestyle PR refers to strategic communication architecture for products and experiences that meet the needs of an aspirational lifestyle!
The aim of Lifestyle PR is to secure top quality editorial content that engages, inspires, educates and informs.
So how do we do it? Making the brand better known and understood is a matter of great storytelling. Teams have to be dedicated to uncovering tales that people will want to read about, hear and see. Professional and passionate individuals, who are strategic and creative, much like in other streams of PR, are required for winning campaigns in Lifestyle PR too. But in addition, the essential attributes required for this role includes trend-spotting on good living (new restaurants, chocolatiers, cool event planners, edgy stylists, graphic artists, visual merchandisers, etc.), a network of social influencers and tastemakers (for endorsement, further engagement, foster viral influence), and media relationships among consumer, fashion, beauty, food & drinks editorial communities.
Lifestyle PR includes development of PR strategies that work hand-in-hand with marketing campaigns as well as traditional press releases. Furthermore, we have to be masters at product placements, sample management and event planning. We are expected to have an enviable black book of contacts across: society influencers, interiors, luxury and women’s press, television, radio and online. The success is in the finer details – language, etiquette, materials layered with a creative & sophisticated experience. We must also have the experience of managing social media channels for brands, as well as creating compelling video content that people cannot resist sharing. The recent introduction of the ‘Gap’ store in Mumbai using the endearing ‘dabba’ is one such example. Wowing fitness friendly bloggers with a yoga workout or Ayurveda regimen have been ideas to engage stakeholders with brands such as adidas and Ananda in the Himalayas.
We have to be on top of cultural shifts and are expected to pitch from myriad angles: travel, spa, gastronomy, adventure, golf, trade, business, design, or many other perspectives that can advance the brand in the lifestyle and luxury domain to influence the relevant target audience.
Lifestyle PR campaigns draw inspiration from the best in fashion, art, beauty and it is the journey of these personalities to the top which offers some great insights. Some of the qualities that PR professionals can learn from personalities like Christian Louboutin, Bobbi Brown, Ritu Kumar to attain success are:
1- Dedication to a craft, whether it’s leather goods, fashion or watches, requires 100-percent commitment. To compete on a global stage, where people are known to overlook the dedication and hard work it takes to create a masterpiece requires unwavering passion. In business as in cinema, maintaining motivation and drive, is crucial to success, regardless of ups and downs. Communicators must remain dedicated to winning.
2- Excellence – Draw inspiration from a Dom Perignon winemaker who aspires for perfection. What they do to obtain excellence is far beyond others in the game. PR can position clients for greatness by identifying the essential attributes that make a product or experience shine.
3- Consistency – Uniformity builds identity and provides stability. A restaurateur like Ritu Dalmia or Akira Back cannot sustain their restaurant business with inconsistent cuisine standards. For a vocal artist, the tenor routine builds a strong rhythm, allowing them to measure success with incremental improvements. If they did not practice every day, they would never gain recognition for outstanding achievements. In public relations too, consistency builds strong brands for clients and catapults them beyond their rivals.
4- Confidence – Each new collection or innovation provides an opportunity to win. A positive attitude generates the belief needed to secure success. As communications pros, we are hired when we instils confidence about our ability to make a difference in a client’s business.
5- Ambition – Consumer lifestyle and luxury brands are also competitive by nature and are constantly striving to remain relevant and be favoured by consumers. A successful PR programme is not the end of the race. There’s always another milestone or goal, so no resting on your laurels! There is a need to always aim higher combining innovative approaches!
There is no foolproof recipe that makes a person excel at lifestyle PR, but the aforementioned are ingredients essential for success. Whip up your unique blend of creativity and diligence with the unquenchable thirst to innovate for your brand, and master your role as an ace communicator.