The “Lifestyle Brand” Formula: Authentic Connections and Passion in the Restaurant Industry

Today’s consumers expect more from their restaurants than just food. Everything from the menu, atmosphere, and the brand’s mission need to be aligned with their lifestyle.

Brands like Honeygrow and Shake Shack go the extra mile to provide experiences for their consumers like hangouts and group yoga classes. Taco Bell has a clothing line to supplement their cult-like brand following. So, how can a brand become an engaging “lifestyle brand”?

On this session, brought to you by Kabbage, Host Yareli Quintana explores with &pizza, Pincho Factory, and Intelligentsia what it means to be a “Lifestyle Brand.” As well as how to push past just serving food with panelists who pour their passion for their brands into effective communication and marketing.

Director of marketing of &pizza, Rachel McLaughlin, leads by saying a lifestyle brand boils down to two things: authenticity and specificity.

“It’s brands that can communicate with their consumers in a voice and a tone that is authentic and it feels like they are talking to, you know, a friend or a family member. Their content is authentic...Just in terms of product transparency, they’re real with what they offer. And the brand goes much deeper than just the products and services they sell,” said McLaughlin.

Otto Othman, Co-Founder and CMO of Pincho Factory, agrees that authenticity is a big factor when forming a “lifestyle brand.”

“Times have changed. So, when people look at brands, they don’t just necessarily look at the product. It's the values of the company, is it what the brand stands for, what’s the mission, what’s the purpose? We, as a whole, are more connected, so the consumer is more enabled,” said Othman.

Intelligentsia’s VP of Coffee, Geoff Watts, speaks of passion and intensity. If a brand doesn’t feel genuinely connected to their mission, consumers will catch on and disengage.

“It all starts with caring very deeply about something. Whatever it is you’re doing, whatever it is your company does...if you’re obsessive about it, if you truly love it, I think that comes through,” said Watts.  

Watch the episode above to see what strategies helped to transform these brands into a “lifestyle brand” and how you can learn to do the same.