Brands will need to become even more hyper-aware of the changing social, cultural shifts that have been recently taking place. Issues around identity, from race, religion and especially gender have become heightened and we have seen numerous movements as a result; #metoo, Women’s march against Trump.
It means that brands will need to navigate what is and isn’t acceptable and align themselves with where the world is moving and what is true to their brand.
Gender fluidity is one articulation of this and is an undercurrent, which is likely to become evermore prominent.
In our Q1 edition, we called out gender-neutral fashion as a trend to watch out for. This has been growing with the emergence of Clarke’s shoes and H&M successfully introducing neutral ranges.
Now we are seeing how gender fluid ranges are moving into new sectors.
Beauty and cosmetics
For a long time the beauty industry has worked with the most stringent of gender divides. Clear codes with colours, language, shape of pack and product formats are very separated.
Today, new brands are emerging that actively market themselves for anyone and everyone.
- Aesop do not give gender classifications to products on their website
- CK2 was released as the sequel to CK One, and is celebrating fluidity and embracing how millennials explore their relationships, friendships and sexualities without judgement
Strict gender norms are learnt from a very early age, where children are exposed to extraordinary gender division in toy packaging.
Some companies within the toy industry are making strides in changing the way boys and girls play.
- Lego have introduced an all female aerospace engineers Lego set with astronauts and dune buggy operators
- Mattel, the makes of Barbie, have released superheroes range with a female line up, where WonderWoman is wearing trousers and SuperGirl wears flat heeled shoes
Our challenge to you this quarter
An interesting hurdle for brands looking to embrace gender neutrality will be how to build or maintain a clear personality for the brand. Research has shown that a high degree of masculinity or femininity can be an extremely effective tool for creating a clear brand personality and increasing brand preference.
Therefore, what other traits and values can be leveraged to give a clear sense of brand personality in the case that you are moving towards a more gender neutral future?