Address 'removement'. Harness the power of peers. Feature cross-generation diversity.
These were the key takeouts in a seminar titled 'Whatever you do, don't call them Grey or Silver' featuring Karen Strauss, partner/chief strategy and creative officer, 50+ Lead, Ketchum; Stephen Reily, managing director, IMC/Vibrant Nation; and Kirsty Fuller, co-founder and co-CEO, Flamingo Group.
The discussion was moderated by Hélène Paulette Côté, program director, 3 per cent Returnships.
Strauss narrated her story, which was symbolic of the majority of the women featured in the 'Ketchum 50+' Removement Study.
She said, "In a week's time I'll be signing my divorce papers after being married for 25 years. I'll be moving from a big property in the suburbs to an apartment in the city. I've been thinking of and forming new friendships. There's going to be a change in my life when it comes to work. I'm excited and positive about this change. So should marketers and brands. My daughter is off my payroll. I have another child who will be soon off it. This means I have more money to spend on products and services. 'Removement' is the word given by Ketchum. People are moving to a new stage. They're removing friends and brands from their lives. This is not bad news, this is a wake-up call."
Strauss urged brands to be careful with some research findings from the Ketchum 50+ Removement study:
- Eighty nine per cent of the women above 50 are more than delighted to try a different brand.
- Don't be afraid to show us alone. Twenty two per cent of the people above 50 are single and comfortable. This age is comfortable being alone.
- Optimistic. The current 50-plus generation believes that this decade of theirs will be the best yet.
- Invite experimentation. The 50-plus welcome recommendations and revel in new experiences. More than 40 per cent of Apple products are sold to people above 50.
- Allow self indulgence. The current 50-plus lot strives for self-fulfillment. The 50-plus generation is happy to try new products and services that speak to them. Gone are the days of getting customers for life.
Reily presented some insights. He said, "I have some good news and some that is bad. The bad part is that brands still haven't got how to market to the 50-plus. Good news for brands is that this generation is ready for peer-to-peer exchange and trust that."
He then laid out the bad news: "50-plus women distrust your message. They have stopped believing your advertising message. Ninety per cent of women above 50, dislike the service provided by brands. Women find retail sales people unsatisfactory. They feel insulted when they're shown as the second person, depending on someone.
This was followed by the big news: "At all ages women are resourceful. They trust each other. The current generation of 50-plus women have an increase in connections rather than a decrease. In 2015, the women of GenX turn 50. The older they get, the more they look to learn from older women. Ninety per cent believe other women. Very few believe advertising. You need to harness the power of peer-to-peer communication."
Flamingo Group's Fuller was up next. She said, "I have worked with creative agencies for campaigns around the world. In the last five years communication to people above 50 has decreased. There's a lack of understanding. But the primary problem is the fear of undermining a brand's image. With the right principles in place this fear can change. We need to change the language to engage rather than the target. Women want to feel included. They don't want to be an inconspicuous minority. Connect, don't separate. We are moving towards a day where it's not about segments which are about demographics or age. We have more shared values between age groups then we've ever had."
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