Brands can now put an ‘M’ logo on products that help menopause symptoms
Boots has been the first retailer to sign up for the scheme from GenM.
M-tick made available for GenM members / GenM
Products that help one of the 48 symptoms of menopause can now be branded with an ‘M-tick’ in an initiative that aims to make menopause as well signposted as vegan options.
GemM, an organization working to make menopause a more positive experience for everyone, has created a menopause-friendly logo with the help of its founding partner Boots. GenM co-founders Heather Jackson and Sam Simister are on a mission to make the menopause tick as recognizable as the vegan V in five years’ time.
“4% of the population in the UK are vegan and if you look at how much money is spent on marketing to vegans from the product development to signposting and education,” Jackson says. “But 20% of the population, that’s 15 and a half million women in the UK and 1 billion globally are menopausal. But where is our signposting, where is our merchandising or marketing and where is our understanding of us?”
According to a GenM study, 90% of menopausal women say brands should be more inclusive to menopause, 87% feel overlooked by brands, and 91% have never seen any specific marketing for menopause products.
Jackson argues that the vegan argument is the best way to get brands to “wake up” and understand that menopause is a business issue.
Access to the M-tick is available for free to GenM’s 80 members, which include M&S, L.K.Bennett and Co-op.
Boots piloted the M-tick in October in 500 Boots stores across the UK as well as on boots.com. M-tick was applied to over 100 products and services available at Boots, including some of its own-brand products.
Simister explains that no two women’s menopause is exactly the same and that what works for one person may not work for another. “The M-tick isn’t an accreditation for menopause-specific products, rather it’s about menopause-friendly products that can alleviate, relieve and support their symptoms and experience,” Simister says.
The product needs to meet a set of criteria to carry the tick. It either needs to be co-created with a menopausal audience; backed by authorized medicinal or cosmetic professionals that support one or more of the menopausal symptoms; tried and tested on a menopausal audience; and surveyed by consumers with a five-star rating or feature technology to support one or more of the symptoms.
“We want to make it easy for consumers to find suitable products, providing them with a wealth of choice to take control of their menopause in the way that best suits them,” Simister adds.
All brands that use the symbol must use the guidelines under the collective specification to ensure consistency. “If we stray away from that, we will end up doing is diluting the brand and it will then dilute the consumers' perception, it will make it much harder for somebody to find the M tick and recognize it,” Simister continues.
GenM is relying on its partner brands to communicate and market the tick through their own products and channels. GenM has its own media reach, but Jackson explains by rallying 80 brands together their media and investment "makes a powerful platform to launch off”.
Since each brand is beholden to production lines and internal sign-off processes the plan is for an “organic” and phased-out introduction of menopause friendly rather than a launch day. It’s a “sensible and sustainable model” Jackson adds.
The long-term goal is for retailers to create dedicated spaces in stores and online for menopausal support.
It’s the latest initiative from GenM to improve the way companies approach menopause in both their internal policies for staff and external comms with consumers. In 2021, 31 brands, including M&S and Boots signed an open letter demanding advertisers to use their platforms to normalize the conversation around menopause and review the policies and products they have in place. The letter was published in the Guardian and across social media.
A year later, it released an award-winning campaign on the importance of men understanding menopause and the effects it can have on the women in their lives.