Last week we were asked to join a group of inspiring women to talk at the LSN Global network evening. LSN is part of the Future Laboratory, a trend forecasting, brand strategy and consumer insight company, who work with brands to help them innovate and inspire.
Looking at what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, they asked us along to speak to some of their subscribers about our blog and how we think brands need to adapt to suit the growing number of older women in the market place.
The other speakers included Collyn Ahart, brand consultant and strategist at Wieden + Kennedy, who talked about new female movements in sport. Debbi Evans, publisher and founder of new thinking women’s glossy magazine Libertine, “for interested women” (more of that to come) and the LSN insight editor Hannah Stodell, who outlined how savvy luxury brands are adopting a feminist outlook with initiatives that promote a strong, powerful image of women to appeal to today’s affluent female consumers.
The atmosphere at the event was charged with a feeling of female empowerment and the audience seemed eager to hear what we had to say about how brands can tap into our ever increasing demographic.
Never ones to hold back when asked for our opinion, here’s a round up of what we said:
While age appropriate is a factor, it isn’t everything – lifestyle, aspiration and taste level are just as important to us now as they ever were. We are the same people we were at 20, just with different needs.
Think about us in tribes in the same way you would think about the youth market – don’t lump us all together in one big group. Just because we are older don’t assume we know nothing about technology, fashion or music.
Don’t talk down to us – modern brands are all about story telling and engaging consumers in a conversation both online and offline. We want to be part of that conversation. Don’t ignore us or talk to us in a condescending way – we can see straight through you. We have been there and bought the t shirt and believe me, you don’t want an angry middleaged women taking to Twitter to complain about your brand!
Be authentic and genuine, we want good quality and great customer service, but we don’t always want to be sold to.
We want style icons that genuinely resonate with us. They don’t have to be size 16 housewives from Doncaster, we still want to be aspirational, but we don’t want to see Prada on 17 year stick insects – besides how many 17 year olds can actually afford Prada?
When reading women’s magazines, we don’t want to read about the latest “it” bag, the perfect bikini body, or how to loose 10 years. We know our bodies and by and large are happy with ourselves. We have much more interesting things to think about. We want to be challenged, learn stuff, find out about interesting places and fashion that is aspirational, stylish and wearable. Witty, intelligent editorial is key, we want to feel good about ourselves – not worse!
We don’t want to buy anything that says “anti ageing” on the packaging. We know we are getting older, it happens to all of us and it’s not the worst thing ever and are sick of being told it is. Besides, what message do the words “anti ageing” give to young women. Lets find a new term that celebrates the wisdom and beauty of age.
Older women in the work place need to be celebrated and respected and should not feel they have to lie about their age. 50+ women working in the fashion or music industry (or any industry) should not be a big deal. We have experience and maturity and with our children off our hands, are ready for a challenge. Diana Vreeland was 70 when she became editor of US Vogue. #justsaying!
And finally and this is really important, never ever compare us to your mum, or nan – no matter how old we are. In our heads we are 25 – FACT!