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Cultural determinants in the development of successful lifestyle brands

Author: 
Stephen T.F. Poon
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Lifestyle brands are created, built and established based on cultural values, attitudes and living arrangements of a specific group of target audience. As branding activities are aimed at generating awareness and communicating information that ultimately relates to the overall purpose of marketing, the creation of lifestyle brands is to enable target audiences or target market sectors to identify and associate with the elements of the specific lifestyle contexts they practice, prefer, and aspire to. Lifestyle branding adds value to consumers from its powerful enabling role as an interactive mechanism, being the name and symbolic associations for products and services which not only serves functional benefits, but communicates the symbolisms behind consumer choices with factors that are culturally inherent or meaningful. More than promotional tactics and marketing, lifestyle branding strategies shape the interaction habits and activities that the consumer may seek, prefer or engage in daily. The embrace of digital media, web-based and mobile technologies, and a tandem growth of interest in the urban shopping culture have become important catalysts in the development and management of successful lifestyle brands. This paper provides a set of possible cultural determinants of Malaysia’s urban consumer segments, while proposing ways in which brand marketers and designers can respond innovatively to their needs by aligning brands with consumer perceived measures of brand equity. Using scales of measurement on the brand equity model to analyse the underlying determinant conditions, four case studies of food and beverage brands in the Malaysian service industries will be provided to gather insights on brand equity, and these will be discussed in-depth to understand what consumers seek in brand experiences. The research will conclude by factoring in the designer’s role in the marketing of lifestyle brands that are relevant, recognised and respected.

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