A lifestyle brand does not push a product. It does not have a single focus. A lifestyle brand must be as multifaceted as the people it serves. At Michigan Tech, like all universities, we have a diverse audience of people connected to our University in a variety of ways. If Michigan Tech is a lifestyle brand (and I believe we are) here are three simple storytelling tips that can help strengthen our brand and further connect us to the people we represent.
1. Engage in unexpected topics that our audience has an interest in
We love our location and so do our students and alumni. We have water access for boats, kayaks, and canoes. We have amazing skiing opportunities, and great trail systems for hiking and biking. Rather than simply boasting about our locations attributes, why not dig deeper? Let’s talk about the latest in mountain bike technology or the best kayak for the big lake? Why not mention trends in Lake Superior fishing, or the latest advances in skiing and snowboarding product development? Get specific. Talk shop, and show an interest in what activities/topics your audience loves.
2. Allow our audience to share the Michigan Tech Experience
Gone are the days of a controlled marketing message. Messages that a lifestyle brand conveys should also come directly from the people they represent. For social media that means sharing content produced by others. For University marketing material that means allowing students, faculty, and alumni to also be primary vehicles for our message. Word-of-mouth is vital in today’s message-cluttered world, and by encouraging our audience to share their “Michigan Tech Experience,” we are improving our chances of being heard.
3. Speak to your audience like you would a friend
Marketing-speak can be sniffed-out instantly. This means anything of value delivered in this manner is ignored. Lifestyle brands talk to their audience like they would a friend. This doesn’t mean it has to be casual, but it does have to be relatable. Don’t camouflage your message with too many words when a short sentence will do. Don’t speak in generalities when you can be specific to Michigan Tech. When you’re not specific, you’re not being honest.