7 trends about the ‘Ambitious, Balanced, Confident’ Woman

27 Mar,2014

 

Pune-headquartered Elephant Design is celebrating a quarter century of strategic design consultancy. Earlier this month (around International Women’s Day on March 8), co-founder and principal designer Ashwini Deshpande sent us the link to an e-publication of a trends watch the firm had done.

 

Those who are regular consumers of MxMIndia would be aware of a slight bias we have towards design. We cover all design conferences extensively and patronize these too wherever possible, even though our content may not necessarily reflect that.

 

So we requested for permission to carry sizeable bits from the report, which Ms D readily agreed to. So here we are. We also did a quick Q&A with her on the report.

 

 

What is the concept behind Elephant Trendswatch 2014?

As leading multi-disciplinary experts on emerging markets, our teams based out of Pune, Delhi and Singapore get to work in variety of domains including FMCG, Healthcare, Banking, Energy, Automobile and Lifestyle products. No matter what the domain, our approach is always user-centric and always starts with design research. We observe, meet and farm life-stories with users and turn our understanding into insights that lead to innovative design solutions. Usually, rich insights lead to two significant sets. The first set gives an overview of shifting mindsets, transitions, beliefs and emerging aspirations. This typically can be called Trendswatch. The other set comes out of analyzing the observed trends along with visualization of future. This is called Trends Forecast.

 

We believe our insight-led work has reflected positively on the users. But we want to share the benefits of these insights with more users, marketers, brand owners as well as students of design and branding. So we decided to publish what we learnt in the last year and make it an open source by publishing Elephant Trendswatch 2014 online.

 

What made you embark on this new initiative — The New Woman, Ambitious, Balanced, Confident, and how are you taking it forward?

As we looked at our insights and work done during last year, we realized there is one persona that has figured most often in any research. The New Woman! So we are dedicating the first edition of Elephant Trendswatch 2014 to this Ambitious, Balanced, Confident woman many of identify with.

 

Hmmm. But what is the goal of this initiative? Who are you reaching out to?

The goal is knowledge-sharing. We have articulated seven trends that we observed. Each trend is supported by some of the examples that led us to articulate the specific learning. We have also put in what the trend means to her and to someone who is looking at building a brand for this woman. We want brand owners, marketers and students to read and benefit from this initiative.

 

The new woman – Ambitious | Balanced | Confident

  • Confident
  • Strong sense of pride & self-worth
  • Substantive
  • She knows what she is doing!
  • Rooted benevolent, yet discerning attitude for making choices
  • Role model, opinion leader, decision-maker

 

Trend 1: Inside out beauty

 

The new story visualizes beauty very differently. It is about a woman who inspires, has an opinion, acts on it and exudes her inner confidence; making her a beautiful person inside out.

 

What is she expecting from her brand?

  • Brands that represent products & services that give her…empowerment
  • Brands that speak of liberal viewpoints

 

Recent sightings: A moisturizer that protects her confidence, a tea she brews as an empowered voter, a scooter that liberates her from her less-privileged status in the family, a wedding jewelery collection that celebrates second innings and finally a social movement that collectively reverberated a voice against rape.

 

Trend 2: The new me is within me

 

Brands that understand the new order in which she needs to outperform herself, overcome any personal discomforts without causing disruptions in her challenging routine are being embraced.

 

What does she want her brands to do for her?

  • Brands for gentle care and self awareness
  • Brands that help positive attitude and self image
  • Boost confidence through hygiene and comfort

 

Recent sightings: An intimate hygiene product that takes care of her long hours away from home, whitening products that restore her natural skin, a razor designed for feminine skin & curves and a marathon that specifically draws attention to breast cancer awareness.

 

Trend 3: New pick Nature + science

 

Nature and science that are increasing her awareness and need for balance between goodness of natural ingredients clubbed with positive effects of science.

 

How does she look at balancing the new order?

  • Fusion of nature and science
  • Contemporary Organic / rooted

 

Recent sightings: Convenience of non-stick cookware in a traditional clay-pot so that she can have the best of authentic flavours and aromas at her disposal, dozens of beauty products from every leading brand trying to give her active ayurveda or effective nature in a jar or tube, products that promise elimination of problems like sweat odor, sun tan, pollution spots etc. using science & nature.

 

Trend 4: For me DIY, natural, instant and flexible is a must

 

However, she will not compromise on what is inside the “instant” effect. She will ensure the presence of natural ingredients for safe & effective experience.

 

How will she push the boundaries of R&D?

She will look for…

  • Multi-tasking beauty products
  • Salon at home
  • Quick fix glow for on the go lifestyle
  • Hygienic and travel-friendly
  • Anti pollution

 

Recent sightings: Out-of-home beauty products like beauty-regime wipes, home facial kits, 3-in-1 products, mood uplifting beverages & happiness snacks

 

Trend 5: My life. My stories.

 

Online shopping has opened the world to her. At the same time, she is cautious of coming across as “generic”. She is fiercely seeking one-off/ exclusively crafted/ limited editions by shopping for carefully selected home & fashion ware. She is appreciating objects with stories as her social media presence matters.

 

What engages her?

  • Niche range products made available through online brands
  • A story behind the product

 

Recent sightings: Specialized online “women’s stores that emphasize on story, emergence of multiple narratives to suit every kind of personality, craft stores with online presence.

 

Trend 6: A celebration of motherhood

 

Motherhood has become much more than a stage in life. It is being celebrated as never before through a plethora of services, supplements, fashion, specialized coaching, support groups, exclusive birthing facilities

 

What is she looking forward to?

  • Healthcare Brands which cater to the happiness factor more than illness
  • Comfort with style
  • Technology that facilitates personal care
  • Safe motherhood
  • Comforting indulge

 

Recent sightings: Apps that help finding best days for conceiving, coaching sessions on parenting for him and her, exclusive birthing hospitals, DIY pregnancy-test kits, nutrition supplements, pregnancy fashion-line

 

Trend 7: Never leaving roots.

 

Despite significant western influence, women from emerging economies like Asia & Africa want to stay rooted and do not want to emulate the west blindly. This choice comes out of pride for the culture and need for staying real and authentic.

 

How does she stay connected with her roots?

  • Blend of old & new, modern/ western & tradition
  • Self-selected fusion of both worlds
  • Contemporary yet rooted

 

Recent sightings: global brands embracing local influence for festivals & celebrations, global brands offering local, age-old beauty secret ingredients in a contemporary format

 

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