By Lenka Gourdie, CEO, Crack the Digital Code

In today’s competitive market, it is harder to stand out from the crowd. Some companies are more forward-thinking than others. Companies with a mission and a higher purpose besides driving profit will be the big winners in the future. Why is that?

The brands that are going to have longevity in a rapidly changing environment are the ones that win the hearts of customers because they focus on boosting brand loyalty and building communities. Most of these brands apply lifestyle or human branding to connect with their fans on an emotional level. If you strive to become a lifestyle brand what are your key objectives and what do all these brands with a purpose have in common?

Top tips for how to build a lifestyle and human brand and be one of the winners in the future:

1. Create a brand ethos with a higher purpose

Brands that attempt to sell an identity, or an image, rather than a product create a brand ethos with a higher purpose. The brand needs to express personality. When your brand acts more like a human, it is going to connect with customers on a different level, more likely emotionally.

As a brand you need to be very clear about your values, purpose, authority and why you exist.

All these key aspects of your brand ethos needs to be consistently delivered across all channels such as your website, social media and offline.

A brand with an amazing brand ethos is Chubbies Shorts. Their consistent message and imagery clearly show what they stand for in the market. This attracts their fans.

2. Share a human story

Create a human story and share this story with your customers. Again, make sure that your story is visible and shared by you and your customers.

3. Get to know your customer

In order to be able to connect emotionally with your customer, you need to know your customer inside out. The more niche you go, the more you will get to know your customer. This will allow you to design a brand strategy matching the needs of your customer. A great example is Poo-Pouri where the customer is a young glamour girl. However, she is not only the customer, she is also the messenger for the market. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, and go niche.

4. Create an emotional hook

These days brands are able to connect with humans, as a human would do with another human. In order to do this, as a brand you need to create a hook that emotionally connects with your customers. This emotional attachment needs to be something that people can relate to and something that can become a part of their lives.

Again, Chubbies are a great example. Their lifestyle hook is about living a free life and having fun. If you are a boy and bored in the office on Friday at lunch time, you can start thinking of Chubbies shorts and visit their website. Their images will bring you straight to the weekend.

Another great example of a lifestyle brand is Mirabeau wine. Bringing you the best out of the life in Provence and sharing their story. You just want to taste their wine.

5. Build communities

It is important to think of the community (a group segment) you are creating. Lifestyle in this context is creating an emotional attachment for your customers and it needs to be created in the context of community building. Many lifestyle brands purposely refer to existing groups or cultures. This is great as it is easier to start building a community as one already exists. The community you want to create is the key to creating a shared belief about the brand you want your customers to feel and be a part of.

6. Engage creative content and campaigns

Once you have all the above in place, you need to start thinking of engaging your fans on a regular basis. What are the things that will hook and keep them? A great example of a campaign starting from scratch was a campaign This girl can. This campaign demonstrates the importance of putting your customer at the heart of all your activities and continuously engaging the customer.

7. Measure, evaluate and do more of what works

Data, data and data - once you become active and gain your fans, you will be getting enough data to understand what works and what does not work for your customer. My only tips in this case would be that data does not have emotions. In order to gain the most out of it you still need to listen to your customers with open ears and relate to them as humans. Then use data to validate your findings and thinking.

Evaluate your activities, key messages and other content and create more of things that work for you.