How The Role Of Gender Is Changing In The Marketplace
It’s no secret that gender plays a big role in our society. We are told that gender should generally determine everything, from what we wear, to what we watch, to what we eat. Since the advent of advertising, marketers have used gender as an easy solution to a difficult problem. How to target a group of people in order to make money? How to define those groups? Until recently the answer has been a mix of age and race, with gender as the deciding characteristic.
Gender-based marketing, while being society’s default, maybe in fact, limiting a company’s ability to engage all of its customers. Paris based marketing executive Gaby Barrios said in her recent Ted Talk that, gender is such an easy thing to find in the market and to target and to talk about, that it actually distracts you from the fun things that could be driving growth from your brands, and, at the same time, it continues to create separation around genders and perpetuate stereotypes. While there are some exceptions to the rule, i.e feminine hygiene products, there are far better ways of addressing consumers’ needs than through gender.
The Missed Opportunities Of Gender-Based Marketing
Fashion and beauty have long been very divided industries. Men were thought to have stopped their self-care after their foam and Schick razor. A decade ago the idea of a male face being used to sell makeup to a mainstream audience would have shocked and awed; not anymore! Brands around the world are embracing gender neutrality not only in their branding but in the actual development of their products. According to CNBC, The men’s personal care industry is predicted to hit $166 billion by 2022. If we put the importance of diversity aside, we can see the massive opportunities that beauty brands have missed out on by not including men and male-identifying people in their marketing campaigns. What this shows is that marketers now see the importance of not targeting their audience by gender. Consumers are tired of being put in the boxes that they’ve been assigned to.
Brands That Have Taken Steps Towards Gender Neutrality
Over the last decade, we have seen a steady expansion in the way that brands communicate to their consumers. Advertisements are slowly starting to look like the real worlds that we live in. Runways are slowly, but surely starting to include non-binary models that wear beautiful gender neutral garments.
Household brands from Zara to Chanel have included gender-neutral lines in their sartorial and beauty empires. According to GMA department store giant, Nordstrom, it has partnered with over 500 new brands that champion inclusive shade ranges and gender-neutral beauty. Covergirl has featured influencer James Charles in a digital campaign while Glossier has featured Donte Colley in their cast of diverse models for their Playline. While large corporations may be using gender neutrality as a buzz-word to boost sales, the power of their platforms is contributing significantly toward the breaking of gender stereotypes.
Brands That Have Made Gender Neutrality Their Foundation
These brands have not had to catch up with the times but instead have been a part of forming the culture.
The Phluid Project
New York’s first gender-free clothes shop
We are Fluide
Fluide is a collection of colourful, cruelty-free makeup for all gender expressions, gender identities and skin tones.
TELFAR is a unisex line Est in 2005 in NYC by Telfar Clemens and sold internationally. It’s not for you — it’s for everyone.
The first unisex gender-neutral collection in fashion history est. 2007
Gender Neutral Generation
Binary definitions of gender have become increasingly antiquated. Gender has expanded to include a greater representation of the world’s population. By ignoring these slow, but steady sociological advances, companies risk alienating some of their consumers. Benjamin Lord, executive director at NARS wrote in an article for Adweek, Supporting new forms of self-expression, regardless of gender shows that your brand cares about being part of the new message of social progress and inclusion, something that’s important to young generations.