July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
What happened to fashion’s love affair with youth? Are we finally acknowledging the beauty of older women? There seems to be a new attitude towards style at any age. Cher is the latest in a string of new celebrity endorsers for brands like Marc Jacobs that include interesting older women in their ads like 93-year-old Iris Apfel, 69-year-old Helen Mirren, 65-year-old Jessica Lange, and 63-year-old Angelica Huston. It seems that brands are embracing the buying power of older women.
Kate Spade featured 93-year-old legend Iris Apfel in her recent fashion campaign. Fashion house Celine launched a flare with their Spring 2015 campaign using 80-year old author Joan Didion. Helen Mirren, 69, and Twiggy, 65, are brand ambassadors for L’Oreal. Catherine Deneuve, 71, models for Louis Vuitton, Jessica Lange, 65, for Marc Jacobs and Angelica Huston, 63, for Gap.
Millennials seem to have a fascination not only with vintage clothes but with the older woman and her style. My daughter introduced me to the blog and documentary Advanced Style that has become a bit of a phenom among younger women. The work focuses on sartorially adventurous women who are fashion plates of a certain age.
Why are major brands betting on these faces? There is a universal acknowledgement that wealthier older women are more likely to purchase high-end goods. Just like Baby Boomers have changed culture at every age, they continue to have an impact as they enter their older years. Baby boomers control more than 80% of all financial assets and account for as much as 60% of consumer spending. Brands are embracing the buying power of older women. Consumers of a certain age like to see the “best” of their generation and aspire to look as good as Helen Mirren or Jessica Lange.
The 55+ set have their place in all types of shopping including the television shopping channels. Iris Apfel has her own line of jewelry on HSN, Iman has her unique fashion line on HSN and Joan Rivers, even after death, continues to have a presence on QVC. Not surprising, HSN reports their average buyer is someone who knows what she wants. A lot of the women who are frequenting these television retailers are professional women, buying while they’re at work, browsing online at the office. QVC and HSN shoppers are more affluent consumers, and they are also repeat buyers. Most of them buy about ten times a year, so they’re loyal. Our postman told my husband that once a QVC package lands on a doorstep, there are many to follow.
While brands may not exclusively rely on older style mavens, some reported they are instituting a multi-generational approach, while they also embrace a multi-size approach.
Age seems to be relative these days. It’s more about how we feel than our chronological age. Maybe we are now accepting age as a sign of confidence and self-assuredness. It is a good thing to have matured into an interesting and beautiful being.
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
A new Harvard Business School study should eliminate “working mom guilt”. Moms who work outside the home may be doing something really positive for their children. And that’s a good thing since nearly three-quarters of American mothers with children at home are employed.
The study reports daughters of working mothers are more likely to be employed, hold supervisory positions, and earn more money than daughters of non-employed moms. In the United States, daughters of working moms earned 23% more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers.
The working paper (pdf) published June 19 by the Harvard Business School also found that working moms also had a statistically significant effect on their sons. The sons are more likely to spend time caring for family members and doing household chores than are sons of stay-at-home moms. In fact, the sons here in the U.S. spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 minutes more on homework. The study did not show an influence on the careers of sons because there has always been an expectation for men to work outside the home.
We working moms seem to impart different attitudes towards gender roles to our children which have an impact on their attitudes towards work and home life. The researchers found that 33% of daughters of working mothers held supervisory roles, compared to only 25% of daughters of stay-at-home moms.
While the mommy wars may continue on some level, it is clear that having a working mothers has economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes.
March 10, 2015 § 3 Comments
Women are traveling more than they have ever before. Travel experts think that women represent the most important and fastest growing segment of the travel market, in terms of both leisure and business travel.
Phyllis Stoller is truly an expert on women travelers. As head of The Women’s Travel Group since 1992, she is on the front line of travel trends and shares her Top Ten 2015 observations with us. She says that women continue to lead in researching their trips, are seeking more exotic destinations, and are more interested in a healthy diet while traveling. Understanding these trends is important to marketing to women travelers.
Here are her top ten new trends:
- Live for today spending. Overall, a carpe diem mentality is surpassing budget concerns. Maybe it is the economy or maybe single women are finally more affluent. A recent article in the NY Times examined the lifestyle of a healthcare employee, concluding that her higher-per-hour salary put her in a strong financial position for increased spending. And we are seeing these more affluent women traveling. These women are in a professional position that allows for more discretionary spending.
- Women are requesting specific experiences. Online review sites are helping define and prioritize what women will do with their time on a trip, even where they will shop. I have seen actual shopping lists with specific names of oversea stores. Online reviews encourage list making. We observe women listing specific places they want to visit on an itinerary, rather than stating just a destination like Tuscany.
- We still see unusual trips selling out fastest. The idea of leaving ‘your comfort zone’ has leaked into travel. A frisson, even a little scary, is a draw for many women. Women are seeking unusual and new destinations while men are more satisfied with more predictable golf resort destinations. Women are also looking for more intellectual stimulation and experience in their travel; 75% of those who take cultural, adventure or nature trips are women.
- Healthy diet on the road is increasingly important. As regional cuisine has become more sophisticated throughout the US, fine dining overseas is less of a priority, unless it comes with an experience (famous farm meal, known winery, cooking demo).
- Hotel amenities become part of the travel experience. Along with the more liberal spending for travel, we notice women are again using hotel amenities like spa services. Their enjoyment of travel extends beyond the last tour, as women pack use of the hotel into each day. Today’s working women seek quality hotels and services equivalent or better than their business travel standards.
- Smartphones are the new travel accessory. Everyone has a smart phone. Older women will actually get their smart phone before a trip as part of their travel gear. Wifi is the new umbilical cord for many. Entering a lovely hotel with wifi, women will look at their phones before admiring the lobby.
- Solo travelers still penalized. The single supplement is still an issue regarding cost and availability. Women are frequently penalized with a premium applied by some travel companies for traveling alone. Sharing is an option many still choose. But with a stronger economy, the single cost is slightly less formidable this year.
- Frequent flyer consultants needed. Frequent flyer mile accumulation continues to bother women; part of our job today is to help with creative uses of frequent flyer miles. Tour operators need to be frequent flyer consultants or lose passengers’ attention.
- No age limit for traveling. We see women 80+ still happy to travel and not just on cruises. As an FYI, three women of this age group went to India with us October 2014 along with other women aged 40+.
- Airline upgrades are more frequent among women. Maybe the upgrades are a sign of the economy or extra frequent flyer miles. But the upgrades are also a trend of not being afraid to spend money on one’s self.
Read more trends about marketing travel to women here.
February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment. This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond. But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.
Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way. Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided. Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.
And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers. The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs. The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information. For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information. Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph. Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph. A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.
According to Google, “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”
The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments. Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.
This initiative is huge in Google. Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:
1. One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.
2. Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.
3. The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.
4. 35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.
5. One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.
6. 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information. Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.
February 10, 2015 § 1 Comment
There is always a Nashville connection. This week Sports Illustrated has taken over downtown Nashville for its first bash in honor of its America the Beautiful 2015 swimsuit issue. At the same time, the magazine is also making news for including a so-called plus-size model in a swimsuit and a true plus-size model in an ad in this year’s edition.
Is advertising finally accepting that the average size of an American women is 12-14?
The models shown on the runway and in magazines like Sports Illustrated represent less than 5% of women in the US. A traditional sample size used on the runway and in magazines is a 0-2. Even famous actresses know that to snag a couture gown for the Oscar runway, you have to be a size 2.
I have never bought a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue before, but I had to see this one. The debut of the Sports Illustrated model Robyn Lawley was hailed as historic – the first time in history a model beyond a traditional sample size has appeared in the swimsuit issue.
So here’s the scoop. In the 220-page magazine, there are three pictures of Robyn Lawley, a size 12. That’s a size 12 spread over 6 feet, 2 inches, not the average 5 foot, 4 inch woman. Thankfully, neither Sports Illustrated or Robyn uses the term “plus size”, because she is clearly not plus size. Robyn likes “curvy”, and says she is interested in seeing a variety of sizes of women in ads. She said that the exposure is “a step in the right direction.”
But the real story is Ashley Graham, the SwimsuitsForAll model, featured in a two-page spread in the magazine. Ashley is termed a larger-than-average model. She is a 5’ 9”, size 16 and has been featured in Vogue and Glamour. Graham says “the world is ready for more curves in bikinis.” Ashley actively campaigns for women to embrace their bodies no matter what the shape, and has helped found ALDA, a coalition of models promoting a healthy body image for women.
It seems that there is a positive movement to represent more average size women. Calvin Klein recently chose a size 10 model to appear in that company’s underwear ads. And in January, Target launched a plus-size clothing line, Ava & Viv, selecting three plus-size bloggers to model the campaign.
“I really hope this opens up doors for not just skinny girls with big boobs, but for girls with big hips and thighs,” says Graham, “That’s what we have in America.
Let’s say hooray for body positive messages like Graham and Meghan Trainor’s hit song “It’s All About That Bass.” Wake up Victoria Secret. There is life beyond size 2.
Oh, by the way, I would show you the cover, but there is nothing average or real about it.