Menopausal women ‘need more support from brands’

womenBrands are failing to represent and respond to expectations from women transitioning through the menopause or perimenopause in the UK, amid claims companies are scoring a spectacular “own goal” considering this demographic’s huge spending power.

That is the damning conclusion of new research by global insights company Kantar and menopause support provider Over the Bloody Moon, which found two thirds of women experiencing the menopause or perimenopause feel brands are not doing enough to support them, while 76% do not feel represented at all by brands’ advertising and marketing.

The study, Redefining the Menopause, reveals the most common menopausal symptoms were related to negative impacts on feelings and mood (67%) and self-confidence (59%). Through aspirational advertising, brands have an opportunity to address this lack of self-confidence through better representation.

Kantar Insights division brand consultant Helen Rowe 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 change for society and for individuals – Bodyform’s campaign to normalise menstruation is a great example. We need similar discourse and action around the menopause.

“The sense of a lack of representation in advertising campaigns is particularly striking. It’s an own goal when you consider the spending power women typically have at this point in their lives. Brands shouldn’t define people by the menopause, rather it’s about making sure women feel seen and heard by reflecting greater diversity and inclusion in their creative content.

“If done authentically and sensitively, brands can hold real sway over how consumers see themselves and others and help to rebuild that sense of confidence. Tena’s #LastLonelyMenopause campaign in partnership with Channel 4 is a promising and exciting step in the right direction.”

It is crucial, however, that businesses reflect the range of women’s experiences, the study claims, having identified common symptoms such as difficulty sleeping (50%) and night sweats (47%).

Yet it also revealed a broad spectrum of attitudes towards and experiences of the menopause, influenced by factors including women’s age, their symptoms and how long and with what intensity they have been experiencing them, and their access to support networks.

Rowe explains: “There’s still an assumption that the menopause is all about hot flushes and that it only affects older women. That’s often exacerbated by what we see in the media. But women as young as 30 are menopausal and, as this study shows, symptoms are wide-ranging and unique to individuals. More companies need to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all experience and reflect that in their advertising, communications and the products and services they offer.”

Over the Bloody Moon founder Lesley Salem commented: “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.”

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