3 ways to keep your brand relevant with women consumers
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Bridget Brennan
The Rolling Stones make it look effortless, but keeping your
brand cool as it ages is no easy feat.
Enter Quaker Oats. Clocking in at over 130 years old, Quaker
has been marketing to its core base of women consumers since petticoats were
still in fashion. How has a brand like Quaker Oats managed to thrive for more
than a century of cultural changes, particularly among women?
Here are three important lessons on staying power:
1. Think like an
Changing household dynamics create new cultural norms, and
this is certainly true for mealtimes. "Breakfast is the new dinner,"
says Becky Frankiewicz, senior vice president, general manager of Quaker Foods
North America. "The conversations that used to happen at dinner in
reflection are now happening in the morning, in anticipation of the day."
Consider some of the forces driving this: Afterschool
activities dominate many family calendars; 70 percent of moms in the U.S. are
active in the labor force; 40 percent of U.S. households with children under 18
include a mother who is either the sole or primary breadwinner. Mornings are
often the calm before the storm of a busy day.
Look at your market with the lens of an anthropologist. How
have changing family dynamics impacted your own product category? What
innovations might be created based on these cultural changes?
2. Embrace new
definitions of convenience.
The phrase "on-the-go" used to mean everything
that happened after you ran out the door. Now, on-the-go often means in the
For the breakfast category, this means thinking differently
about portability. "We’re seeing the majority of breakfast being eaten at
home, but not necessarily at the table," says Frankiewicz.
If not at the table, then where? For many moms, it’s
standing at the kitchen island while her kids eat breakfast at the table. For
others, it’s simply multitasking in another part of the house. Changes in form
factor, like single-serving Instant Oatmeal Cups as an alternative to packets
that require a separate bowl for cooking, have enabled people to take their
oatmeal with them, even if their destination is just down the hall.
Convenience applies to communications, too. The brand was
the first to incorporate recipes onto product packaging in 1891. As consumers
have shifted their attention beyond packaging to sites like Pinterest for
recipe inspiration, Quaker has moved right along with them.
3. Keep what made you
Oatmeal has endured decades of food trends that have come
and gone faster than you can say quinoa. Quaker has kept its brand "oat-centric"
while adapting to changing tastes with product innovations like lower-sugar
Chewy Bars, higher-protein Baked Bars and Real Medleys multigrain oatmeal and
bars. In addition to updating the product line, the brand has refreshed
If you’ve ever seen a Quaker Oatmeal canister, then you’re
familiar with the white-haired gentleman who serves as the Quaker icon. It
wasn’t long ago that the Quaker Man got a makeover that subtly modernized his
look with a haircut and more youthful glow, while keeping the character
In September, Quaker announced the launch of a new campaign,
"Off You Go!" The ad spot focuses on how Quaker prepares consumers
for the day ahead, and is a more emotional execution than the energy-focused
"Quaker Up" platform that ran since early 2014.
Whether your brand is 10 years, 20 years or over a century
old, staying relevant doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel. It could
mean continually adapting what people already love about your brand in ways
that reflect the realities of modern life.
Bridget Brennan is CEO
of consulting firm Female Factor, and one of the world’s leading authorities on marketing and selling
to women. She is the author of "Why She Buys: The New Strategy for
Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers,"” which was called "essential
reading" by the Wall Street Journal. In addition to researching women’s
purchasing patterns, she speaks globally on the subject of women’s consumer
spending and is a blogger for Forbes where this blog
first appeared. You can follow Bridget on Twitter via @BridgetBrennan.
Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those
of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of
Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.