FEATURE: Discover how brands are updating marketing materials to reflect the modern role of women

Sigrid Roesky-Semburg

In this year’s Diamond Insight Report, which is published annually by the De Beers Group of Companies to highlight to key trends impacting diamond jewellery purchases, the main focus was on the changing face of the female consumer.

The report reveals that shifting relationship dynamics, women’s expanding roles in society, and changing perceptions of femininity are creating new motivations for diamond jewellery acquisitions.

Moreover, women now have much more spending power than they ever have done before, and jewellery companies are reporting a higher degree of self-purchasing. While on a product level fine and fashion brands alike are responding to this trend, are companies translating this into marketing materials to maximise sales and drive footfall in stores?

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The De Beers report says: “All aspects of diamond promotion – including design, concept and role models – should reflect the new reality of womanhood if the industry is to capitalise on the continuing strong desire for diamond ownership.”

The report continues: “Diamonds possess all the attributes required to symbolise femininity in the future just as strongly as they have done in the past, but the industry will need to continue evolving to fully benefit from this opportunity.”

While the De Beers report solely focuses on the diamond jewellery market, it’s important for all brands to keep products and promotional materials attractive to the modern woman in order to stay relevant in today’s marketplace.

Femininity Redefined
The way in which women perceive themselves is constantly evolving, but what do we know about how femininity is defined today?

While distinct views about femininity will differ between cultures, countries and individuals, studies indicate one constant is that womanhood is becoming much more closely associated with a sense of strength and empowerment.

Furthermore, for modem women, empowerment and femininity are not mutually exclusive.

1.Tiffany & Co._Fall_2017_Campaign_Zoe Kravitz_1

The latest Tiffany campaign featured six, diverse, muses.

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According to the Diamond Insight Report, a dedicated study revealed that 86% of women around the world believe femininity is a strength, not a weakness. De Beers comments: “This shift in attitude is closely associated with how they [women] regard femininity itself. Unlike former generations, today’s women associate femininity with confidence —not ‘sweetness’.”

Being feminine now includes characteristics such as confidence, independence and determination, but it does not, however, sacrifice ‘traditional’ values such as caring, maternity and patience.

Today, when a woman is buying a piece for themselves they are celebrating personal growth, achievements and milestones — whether for one that means getting promoted after months and months of hard work, or for another its marking the first time their baby sleeps through the night.

Women no longer have to fit inside a box which sums up femininity in one sentence, and because of this marketing materials within the industry also need to be diverse and represent a range of different personalities in order to not alienate certain groups.

Representing Reality
This year Pandora launched a new multifaceted marketing campaign called ‘DO’, which centres around the ethos of encouraging women to be true to themselves. To expand on the campaign for AW17, the jewellery giant teamed up with business consultancy, Future Lab, to find out exactly how modern women respond to images.

Do they actually find celebrity selfies inspiring? Are they still won over by supermodels? Or are females more inspired by like-minded individuals?

A survey conducted by 7000 women across three continents revealed that 80% of women around the world are inspired by photographs which celebrate life’s everyday triumphs, while 52% are inspired by other women celebrating everyday achievements on social media. In contrast, 53% of women find photographs of selfies uninspiring.

In response to these findings, the fashion jewellery brand worked with photographers from around the globe to take images of ‘normal’ women doing things they love, regardless of style, background, budget or age.

“In Spring 2017, we wanted to help women believe in themselves and celebrate who they are with our DO campaign,” explains Pandora senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Minna Philipson. “For Autumn 2017, we expanded our DO message to encourage women to not only celebrate who they are, but also what they do every day. We want women to be able to see the wonderful in their everyday lives.”

In the end, Pandora was able to present a selection of candid photographs which celebrate a wide variety of women going about their daily lives. These images were then used across the brand’s digital and social platforms, and within marketing campaigns alongside the AW17 tagline ‘Do See the Wonderful’.

“Pandora is a brand for any woman,” Philipson says, adding: “We are a high quality, accessible brand in terms of design, personal style options and price. We want women to be proud of who they are, be able to express their personality and to be true to themselves — with Pandora jewellery.”

The Diamond Insight Report reveals women will purchase jewellery products to celebrate a variety of successes — from financial independence, to a healthy family.

De Beers shares: “While in the past, diamonds may have been purchased more frequently as a mark of status or wealth, consumers now seek purchases that offer an experience or reinforce the value of another experience. Diamond marketers therefore need to continue seeking the right values, occasions and images when promoting their products.”

“A key aspect in this redefining of femininity – based on inner growth rather than external display – is finding role models who best embody it.”

Ellen Panescu and Lea Braskamp

Pandora captured candid shots of women around the world this year.

Linking with Pandora’s finding, that women find photographs of other ordinary women celebrating achievements most inspiring, consumers are looking more for role models in marketing campaigns, than actual models.

Disconcertingly, a study by marketing communications and advertising business J. Walter Thompson (JWT) in 2015 revealed that 76% of women globally say that brands do not currently represent them. However, if this survey was to be done today, this figure could be lower as brands this year have shifted tactics.

Tiffany & Co’s first campaign with its new chief artistic officer, Reed Krakoff, for example, saw the brand celebrate the power of individuality and self-expression. While it did not move away from using celebrities to promote its message, Tiffany & Co did choose six diverse personalities and encouraged them to express their individual personalities with Tiffany jewels.

In the UK, British jewellery brand Chrysalis placed inspirational women at the centre of its latest campaign titled #MyStoryMyStack.

For AW17, the campaign, which was originally launched in 2016, focuses on the meanings behind the jewellery and has six distinct themes including love, success and wisdom.

Alongside the product launch and promotional images, Chrysalis introduced a #MyStoryMyStack interview series to its website. Over the course of the season the brand has lined up interviews with inspirational women, including founder of The Guardian’s Women in Leadership section and Talk Radio Women’s House co-host Harriet Minter, Well to Do founder and entrepreneur Lauren Armes, and the founder of Sweet Beas Bakery. These interviews, which are fun, friendly and relatable, are going to be uploaded throughout the season on Chrysalis’ website and shared across the brand’s social media channels and with its database.

“We had a great response when researching women we’d like to interview, it was important to us to include a diverse mix of women to try and reflect our consumer base,” shares Chrysalis marketing manager, Rhian Burrell Joseph.

“We’re lucky enough to have women from varied sectors including, business, wellness and academia participating all with great stories to tell. “

She continues: “Consumers are definitely responding more to recommendations rather than the traditional hard sell with regard to content. I think this is shift we’ve been seeing for some time, which is why working with influencers can be extremely effective. The influencer is also evolving from the traditional model of someone perhaps in the fashion or entertainment industry with huge followings to ‘real women’ with really engaged followings but are more attainable than inspirational. You see yourself, your sister, your or your best friend in them.

“We want consumers to share their stories and their stacks. The special moments in their lives that have been marked by our meaningful jewellery. Also to be inspired by the stories of the amazing women we’re showcasing and have the confidence to go out and achieve their full potential.”

For British jewellery brand Daisy London authenticity has always been at the heart of the business, with campaigns embodying real life and adventure, which are two important values for the company.

“The Daisy girl is so varied so we choose models who reflect this,” shares Daisy London director Ruth Bewsey when asked about the type of girl the brand reflects in its campaigns. “We go for an almost ageless look with our models, someone who can be aspiration for our younger audience while still appealing to an older customer.”

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Daisy London only works with celebrities which are ‘friends of the brand’.

She continues: “We want our consumer to feel empowered and free when they see our imagery. We aim to make our imagery aspirational but real, something she [the customer] can achieve herself.”
Recently Daisy London started collaborating with celebrities, but the brand makes sure even these are chosen very wisely.

“We’ve only worked with friends of the brand, women who we admire and are real in every nature of the word,” Bewsey explains. “Laura Whitmore is one of the most hard working women in her industry and she’s not afraid to go after what she wants. Ellie Goulding has become one of the most successful singers in the UK and uses her voice to stand up for what she believes in. Women should feel empowered to get out there and achieve what they want to achieve.”

The Bottom Line
With the rise of social media consumers can tell more than ever what is real and what is fake. They can follow anyone and everyone they desire to online, and they can capture a glimpse of any celebrities life with the touch of a button.

They no longer need to wait for glossy mags to be printed, and they certainly don’t have to trust every word they read from publications when they can now cross reference sources easily online.

Therefore, brands need to be careful which celebrities, if any, they are choosing to use in their campaigns. There is still, and will probably always be, a place for celebrities as many women today still embrace the phenomenon — whether watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or following a the newest influencers on YouTube. However, brands can also make their own faces now, or use ordinary women to celebrate their extraordinary consumers.

The key is to understand today’s definition of femininity and use role models effectively to build emotional connections with female consumers.

Group planning head at JWT, Rachel Pashley, advices: “Today’s buying experience is too serious. Make it fun, self-gratifying — learn from the intensely experimental approach taken by skincare companies. Give women ‘permission’ to reward themselves.”

Pashley concludes: “Above all, ensure your communications embrace the possibilities, not the responsibilities, of being a woman.”

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