When filling out those time consuming feedback forms at restaurants that want to know how to ‘serve you better’ or even online surveys that require a whole page inquiring about your age, race and sex – the level of annoyance I feel build up inside me is a clear indication that individualism and identity has never mattered more to us than it does today.
Why do you need to lump me in some age-old demographic that I am probably not part of? Is it that vital to know if your services are more favoured by Asian males than Caucasians ladies? No, I will not join your mailing list!
And it happens I’m not the only one tired of these stereotypes.
According to a new quarterly Cassandra Report released by The Intelligence Group, Gen Y and Gen Z consumers consider conventional attitudes toward gender to be out-dated, restrictive and even insulting.
“Today’s younger generations express a preference for gender-neutral and unisex goods and experiences,” the report states. “They do not want society to tell them what men and women should do or buy; rather, they want to define items they purchase through their own unique use of them. Gen Ys and Zs demand that brands be inclusive in their products and messaging and as such they are driving a shift toward an increasingly gender-neutral world.”
Let me share some of their findings:
|1.||Almost 4 in 10 women prefer clothing or products that are made specifically for men.|
|2.||57% of respondents would rather shop in a unisex store than one that caters specifically to their gender.|
|3.||Fewer than half of men and women prefer to buy products that are gender-specific.|
|4.||45% of men and 54% of women share products with members of the opposite gender in their households.|
|5.||Nearly half of women and four out of 10 men say they are “cool with men wearing makeup.|
Yes, these are changing times where out-dated moulds and clichés created regarding gender roles and their corresponding interests and taste are just not relevant anymore.
“When shopping for anything from bikes to body soap to glasses to beer, they’re looking for products and brands that appeal to them as a person, not as a gender stereotype,” the reports says. “Marketers, even those that have long relied on gender targeting, should consider enhancing or emphasizing the neutrality of their products to appeal to this growing mindset.”
The result of this are brands creating a more inclusive range for both men and women, appealing to a much wider group where sex doesn’t really play a major role. As a marketer, this may seem very counterintuitive as your target market can’t be ‘EVERYBODY’ but I assure you – the lines have been blurred.
We see brands like Veer, CharlieBoy, The Kooples, Creatures of Comfort and even Kanye West (surprisingly enough) designing a new unisex collection. Even kids are getting into the mix, as Hasbro will be releasing a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven.
Sweden, being one of the top pioneers of gender equality in the world, has taken this one step further, by even including a new Swedish gender-neutral pronoun in their vocabulary and are lobbying for gender-neutral toy aisles, taking down ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ signs in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Boots and more.
So consider this gender pivot and defy gender stereotypes by showing men and women in non-traditional and unexpected roles by avoiding clichés that recall outmoded gender dynamics.
The world has already taken a leap towards the multidimensional, so lets empower people to be their best and not create any further unnecessary barriers between us.
How is your brand challenging stereotypes?
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