Oh, the feel of a Brand. I love it. Everything about the idea and texture of a brand that resonates with my soul it alright by me.
Barefoot Contessa, Anthropologie, Apple, Crate & Barrel, CB2, Williams Sonoma, Ikea – hell, I’m on board. They conjure the lifestyle I want to snuggle up to. I mean – who doesn’t want to live in Ina Garten’s barn in East Hampton, cook splendid meals with stylish/functional tools, or live in a CB2 showroom while using an Anthro or Hugo Boss location as your personal closet?
Since I’m working on my ‘The Good Write’ brand, I’ve been exploring business images that make me feel warm and fuzzy. (See the paragraph above).
I’ve written about branding before. I’m fascinated by how a brand makes you feel, how it enhances your well being – your lifestyle.
Lifestyle. I mean, we all live a life, and we all want to live it to its fullest. Brands that provide expert advice on health, beauty, travel, arts, fashion, cooking, housekeeping, etc… are going to be pretty damn popular.
But here’s the interesting thing: When you Google “Lifestyle Guru” – you will find articles that list the top go-to people in this category are celebrities.
Celebrities. Mostly actresses with lucrative film and television careers – filling the lifestyle niche that sit nicely on top of the Google search engine with articles like “These Celebrities Want you to Live a Better Life”.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, Zoey Deschannel, to name a few, have all extended their celebrity status into the lifestyle brand. With research and a good team of people to help fulfill these branding goals, they have no doubt done their research. They know who they’re branding for. They know their customer avatar right down to the pocketbook she carries (Hermes? Michael Kors?), the nail polish she wears (Butter? Esse?), the daycare she uses, the organic food she eats and the vegan life she longs to fulfill.
I applaud these famous people. It’s obvious they provide an amazing service to the person they have in mind – the person they are speaking to who yearns to find the best cleanses, money advice, physical fitness regimes and fun fashion suggestions.
This blogger is no different from those who actively seek out celebrity advice. When it comes to makeup and hair – YES, I want to know their secrets and the products they use.
But here’s my issue. Do these brands REALLY resonate with regular people who are seeking out celebrity “expert” advice? How is their lifestyle experience anything like mine or my friends?
Unless a celebrity found fame a bit later in life and had children to feed and bills they struggled to pay (see J.K. Rowlings, Loretta Lynn), Celebrities don’t gain their expertise from a gaping hole in the marketplace. They gain their expertise through the good stuff provided to them by well paid experts and swag parties.
Did these celebrities once have their own struggles? Sure. But their advice comes from the rarefied air that celebrity affords them. These are brands built by managers who work to optimize their careers. They’re built via easy access to the best of everything in clothes, schools, trainers, chefs, nutritionists, money managers, nannies, doctors, spas, organic food, travel and many other important people who will take their calls.
If a celebrity can provide affordable advice on how to dress like them for less money – I mean LESS money (not show a pair of $1000 shoes marked down to $500 and call that a bargain), then…cool! Maybe they are offering something in their brand we can relate to.
But can the average person really relate to them?
Can most of people who search for Paltrow’s “Goop” really afford the$200 denim shorts she promotes? Or the $500 hand stitched slippers?
Maybe the mom who just put the baby down and wants some “Me” time enjoys escaping into “Goop” or Oprah’s Super Soul. Nothing wrong with that. But can she afford these “must haves” for summer or do a major herbal colonic?
A brand created by someone who launched her business from nothing is more meaningful to me.
No top film gross filling up her bank account. No agent or manager to consult her and connect her with the right people. Just a smart, non-celebrity who saw a need in the market that was not being met and did something about it.
People like Joy Mangano who created the Miracle Mop, or Sara Blakely who created Spanx. Marie Forleo whose multi-passionate business model branded her the leader in helping other business people make a “business and a life you’ll love”.
They may not specifically be “Lifestyle gurus”, but they made something that real people need – both men and women: A good mop, a good way to smooth out that booty, and a beloved coach that will teach you to give something valuable to the world while earning a living on your own terms.
So, enjoy the Goops and the Reese Witherspoons and the Kardashian brands. They’re offerings are fun to behold. Maybe we can gather some interesting advice on life and style from them.
But I’d be careful about celebrities who claim to want to help you live a better life. In the end, you’re on the receiving end of a career strategy carefully cultivated by a team of people who’ve invested time and money into the overall celebrity brand of this person.
You may be bettering their lives instead. $$$$