GCD: Selling a Lifestyle or a Product?

We are excited to announce that we are officially working on a Look Book featuring our Green Couch Design Kitchen Line and Concrete Jewelry! The conceptual process is just getting started but we are already asking ourselves tons of questions as we figure out what are the key messages that we want to say about our products, our brand as a “lifestyle”, and/or both? If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then we had better make sure we have a clear vision about who we are and the type of visual messages we are sending our customers.

As we’ve been researching ideas for our Look Book we’ve noticed two different approaches toward selling a product:

1: Lifestyle Based Marketing: Imagery that forces customers to desire a product because of the way they feel when they are wearing that object or have that product a part of their life. When you aim your marketing toward a lifestyle approach you want potential customers to first fall in love with who you are and as a result purchase your products. With this type of imagery you are not just selling a piece of jewelry, you are selling a feeling based on the type of lifestyle your customers long to have.

Example: In this commercial you see the target audience is young adults and young families that are adventurous and want to “go” and “do”. They are not ok with sitting by and letting life pass by, instead they want to live life to the fullest. Ford focused it’s marketing efforts on the “feeling” their target market wants to have towards life (the problem) and how the Ford Explorer can help their customers accomplish that (the solution).

2: Product Based Marketing: Imagery that sells you a product by focusing on it’s features and services. Typically, this is for a product that is very specialized and more focused on the individual. Marketing efforts are narrowed into making one type of product and making it better than anyone else in your market. Customers purchase this type of product because it’s the best in the industry and it offers them something that your competition does not.

Example: In this commercial you see the target audience is older adults who desire to make smart, educated, decisions about the life that they live (the problem). The entire commercial is about the Chevy Volt and what specific attributes make it unique and better than other cars on the market. The final tag says that it’s customers get the control to make their own decisions on a daily basis: “Electric when you want it. Gas when you need it” (the solution).

Regardless of if you are looking to sell your product through lifestyle or product focused marketing the overall aesthetic should always tie back to your brand identity. There are some brands that are simply about selling a product while others are about selling a lifestyle. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You just have to have a clear understanding and vision about your brand as whole and make your decision based on which type of imagery best represents that.

“Be the expert at being you” - Ryan Marshall, Pacing the Panic Room

For us, we want to build a brand identity where customers are less concerned about what we are selling and more focused on the fact that they are purchasing a Green Couch Design item. Selling a product or service is secondary to the primary goal of building genuine relationships and overall customer loyalty. In all of our research we have found that we are definitely more interested in a lifestyle photography type Look Book to best represent who we are and the overall goals of our company.

If you are confused about which direction to market your products we’d be happy to help you establish some basic brand standards and direction for the future of your company. Email us at and we’ll get started!

From the Farm

images: the outdoor life / i like nice things / dull diamond

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About meg:

I like curly lines, and the simple joys of life. Good coffee and the perfect souffle.

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High class design in overalls. It's the simple life of a farm through the eyes of a couple of crazy designers. We call ourselves Green Couch Design and we are Bringing Design Home.

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