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 A contributing writer for Fast Company, Lucas Conley is an experienced journalist with an eye for stories that change how we see the world. Widely published in a number of[…]

An entire lifestyle is there for us to buy, Lucas Conley says.

Question: What does a consumer gain by being aware of branding?

Lucas Conley: For me it’s to understand that brands are trying to build a lifestyle for you. They want you to buy in to a lifestyle. My favorite example of this is one of the most ridiculous, which is NASCAR. Here is this-- It’s somewhat legitimate ‘cause here is an actual sport behind this brand. There’s actually a product that people can get. It’s new. It’s got a lot of different angles to it but NASCAR sells romance novels. NASCAR sells packaged meats. NASCAR is this massive lifestyle brand that wants to find all kinds of touch points to draw you further in to the NASCAR lifestyle. So from a consumer perspective what brands do you like? How are they drawing you in so that you spend more of your money with them? Is it Apple? Would you buy an Apple product even if it wasn’t as good as something else? Is it a certain brand of clothing? Thomas Pink makes great shirts but they also spray a certain linen scent into every one of their stores. Why not just let the linen smell like linen? There’s certain marketing tacks that these brands use to try and generate a feel, a sensory feel, a psychological feel, of belonging and community and ritual and that’s- for the consumer it’s that kind of sense of community that brands are after with lifestyle pitches, with that feel of being part of a community around a brand. Apple’s another good example, NASCAR, these communities that bubble up around popular brands. Then they try and capture that and then sell you more products, NASCAR meat.

Recorded 7/23/08