Three Smart Examples of Lifestyle Crossovers that Bring a Brand to Life
Crossing over from products and services into experiences is done well by a few top luxury brands worldwide. While some in China have been hit and miss, there are a clutch that stand out from the crowd and achieve that golden goal of transmogrifying from a business into a lifestyle brand.
Doing so gives a physical fulcrum to our focal point – the intersection of where experience, content and community meet. The content of a venue can be the design that is all around the customer, the experience is self-explanatory in the offering, and being a patron of the place gives the feel of being part of the community, with the chance to show that identity on WeChat, Instagram and all besides.
Mercedes have two ‘Mercedes Me’ in China – Beijing and Shanghai – and seven worldwide. The more recently-opened Shanghai venue has two restaurants, retail and test drive capabilities.
It was designed to easily provoke visitors into social media sharing, with a big logo out the front that screams ‘selfie’, and a panoramic view that helps guests show off their experience on their WeChats.
The food is inventive, again prompting an experience and a social share – ‘sashimi’ that’s made with cooked watermelon and the ‘ginger’ from the watermelon skin is an example of something that isn’t found elsewhere, and is share-worthy.
Most of all, if Chinese customers are Mercedes drivers – and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to remind their friends on social media that they own a Mercedes – it lets them take part in ownership away from simply having a car, but being part of the brand.
Vivienne Westwood café
Artistic, bold yet dainty, and blending heritage with modernity – the Vivienne Westwood café in Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall is the physical representation of the brand’s DNA. You have always been able to wear it – now you can sit amongst it, nibble and sip it.
That sounds a bit graphic but the point is clear; it’s the opportunity for brand fans to go beyond buying a new item when they feel like it – or are able to – and instead be immersed in the brand in a more casual way.
Choose from sitting in either the modern studio area or the more traditional café area, with things like cakes and teas envoking femininity and sophistication – with Instagrammability at every turn.
Armani/Aqua, Hong Kong
Armani/Aqua take the concept of fashion fused with food a step further – literally several steps further, as above the Armani/Aqua restaurant is Armani/Prive, a nightclub with a 500 sqm rooftop terrace.
The ‘Aqua’ part of the name isn’t simply a newly created Armani brand but a dining group in its own right, meaning that the venue is more of a creative partnership than a wholly new enterprie from the fashion house.
It elevates the Armani experience above mere ‘daytime shop’ to ‘nightlife host’, which has obvious positive reinforcement to what Armani should feel like as a lifestyle; seductive house beats and a see-be-seen vibe.