76% of women undergoing the menopause do not feel at all represented by brands
Over three quarters of women (76%) have made changes to their lifestyle as a result of experiencing the menopause. That presents marketers with a challenge – how to communicate with a demographic that has shifted its behaviors – but also with the opportunity to speak to that audience in a way that genuinely caters to their needs.
Research from Kantar and Over The Bloody Moon demonstrates a lack of representation for women experiencing the menopause
New research from Kantar’s Insights division found that 76% of women undergoing the menopause do not feel at all represented by brands. That speaks to a failure across the marketing industry to address the needs of a substantial portion of the audience; in light of a greater focus on representation that failure is even starker.
Helen Rowe, brand consultant in Kantar’s Insights division, said: “Conversation around the menopause is evolving but there’s still major work to be done to drive awareness and make sure women are getting the help they need. Brands can play an important part in this and in fact our study shows that women actively want them to do more.
“Consumers expect much more from businesses now than just selling products and brands have power to drive positive social change – Bodyform’s campaign to normalize menstruation is a great example. We need similar discourse and action around the menopause.”
Kantar found that the most common menopausal symptoms were related to negative impacts on feelings and mood (67%) and self-confidence (59%). As a result, it states that “through aspirational advertising, brands have an opportunity to address this lack of self-confidence through better representation.”
Rowe cites Tena’s work on the Last Lonely Menopause campaign in partnership with Channel 4 as “a promising and exciting step in the right direction.”
The report also notes that, in part due to the lack of communication about the menopause in marketing, many menopause symptoms are overlooked or not referred to in advertising. It states that the average number of symptoms experienced by an individual during menopause is six – increasing to 9.5 for those with more severe symptoms.
Better for brands and audiences
The study was performed in partnership with Over The Bloody Moon, an organization that provides support and information related to the menopause. Its founder Lesley Salem, states that brands have a huge role to play in fixing that situation: “We know from our community that most women are looking for ways to manage their menopause, so they can continue to operate at their optimum.
“While we always recommend women first visit a healthcare professional to assess their options, brands can play a vital role in educating and empowering people through their journey and signposting them to resources and proven tools. When clinicians and brands work together, that’s when the magic really happens.”
Perhaps most importantly for the marketing industry, which struggles to attract and retain talent, a lack of support for women experiencing the menopause is still seen as a hurdle. 65% of respondents to the Kantar study reported they don’t feel supported at all by their workplace when it comes to menopause, with over half (52%) wanting a menopause policy in the workplace.
Heather Jackson is the co-founder of Gen M, a UK-based digital platform that seeks to educate on menopause and empower those going through it. Last year, she advised: “The menopause doesn’t stay at home and let you come to the workplace, and it doesn’t just affect you while you’re in the workplace either. Along with asking what companies can do, we should be asking ’what can we all do to push the conversation forward and support the person experiencing the menopause?”
The marketing industry is currently in the midst of a push for greater representation. It has been noted multiple times that the best way to ensure representation is taken seriously is to prove there is a commercial imperative as well as a moral one. Studies like Kantar’s demonstrates there is a huge opportunity for brands to speak to an underserved audience in a way that benefits both advertiser and audience.