Women around the world are sending a clear message – that they welcome and embrace their changing position in society and the family. They enjoy their increasing levels of economic power and social influence. And they are proud of their dual role as co-provider and nurturer.
In short, they are redefining what it means to be feminine.
In the 2015 JWT study, 76 per cent of the women polled felt that there has never been a better time to be a woman.20
For modern women, empowerment and femininity are not mutually exclusive (Fig. 18).
This is evident from an opinion shared by 86 per cent of women globally that femininity is a strength and not a weakness.21
This shift in attitude is closely associated with changes in how they regard femininity itself. Unlike former generations, today’s women associate femininity with confidence – not with ‘sweetness’.
Being feminine now includes characteristics such as confidence, independence, boldness and determination. It does not, however, sacrifice ‘traditional’ values such as caring, maternity and patience (Fig. 18).
This has seamlessly moulded two previous generations’ visions of what it means to be feminine.
One vision is that of the 1960s to the 1990s, when attributes like strength, determination and power were exemplified by figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Madonna.
The other is that of the 1950s, when icons like Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn exhibited the qualities of grace and delicacy (Fig. 19).
So, with this alignment of strength and grace, the vision we see of today’s ‘new femininity’ is a balanced one. This balance gives the modern woman confidence and enables her to focus on personal growth and celebration of personal achievement.
Source: Forevermark-commissioned research, US, 2016.
The increasing significance of the mature single female is one aspect of the new femininity that’s particularly important for the diamond industry in developed countries.
As discussed earlier, the over-sixties population in developed countries is forecast to grow by a third by 2030 and account for more than half of consumption growth in these locations.22
Marketers are thoroughly acquainted with the importance of mature women in the marital gifting of diamond jewellery. However, the unmarried woman in her fifties or sixties is less well understood and catered for.
In the era of new femininity, this mature woman continues to be comfortable expressing her interest in relationships, dating and love. She is emerging as a specific non-traditional consumer segment in her own right.
Mature women in general already account for a considerable proportion of diamond jewellery sales in the mature nations of Japan and the US (Fig. 20). In Japan, older women are also heavier spenders than their younger counterparts – the value of their share of jewellery purchases far exceeds their volume share.23
In contrast, the role of the mature single woman as a consumer of diamond jewellery is less significant in China and India. In these emerging diamond nations, there are two main drivers of demand:
The measures of a successful life for women across the world include financial independence, alongside personal happiness and a happy, healthy family. This is true in all four of the main global regions for diamond jewellery (Fig. 21).
But other aspirations differ between these countries. For example, a happy marriage is more important for Chinese women, while a balanced lifestyle is a bigger priority in India. And being loved is most highly valued in the US.
These findings are echoed by further research, which suggests that success is increasingly defined by the acquisition of knowledge and ideas – not material goods (Fig. 22).
Source: Forevermark-commissioned research, 2017.
This shift from the external to the internal, from ‘what I have’ to ‘who I am’, is a strong trend among Millennials, as The Diamond Insight Report 2016 pointed out. It is something diamond marketers and brands need to address in their offering to the 21st century woman.
While in the past, diamonds may have been purchased more frequently as a mark of status or wealth, consumers now seek purchases that offer an experience or reinforce the value of another experience.
Diamond marketers therefore need to continue seeking the right values, occasions and images when promoting their products.
However, the unique space that diamonds occupy in the luxury world – as a hybrid of product and experience – also offers opportunities. The acts of giving, receiving and self-purchasing diamonds already have a significant experiential element, enabling acquirers to share their diamond story with peers. The commercial potential of this experiential element of the diamond acquisition process could also be developed further, whether through the in-store experience, the use of online material that can be shared through social channels, or other innovations that enable the sharing of experiences.
A key aspect in this redefining of femininity – based on inner growth rather than external display – is finding role models who best embody it (Fig. 23).
Women actively want role models. They believe in the value the right role models give them, from their early formative years through to later life, when they continue to look for them in films and TV.24
Currently, however, brands are falling short of women’s expectations. Three-quarters say that brands don’t represent them.25
This weakens the competitive position of brands – their bonds with consumers can easily be broken, causing them to lose customers.
But it could also be a great opportunity for those brands that find the right approach, as well as the role models who best embody the features of the new femininity and its ways of defining female success.
There are already good examples in the diamond category of brands using role models effectively to build emotional connections with female consumers (see Tiffany & Co and De Beers Diamond Jewellers case studies).
The DPA’s Real is Rare campaign celebrates the idea that authentic connection and emotional commitment are worthy of a diamond in and of themselves. The spirit of the campaign encompasses love and relationships of all kinds, not relying solely on ceremonies as occasions to gift a diamond. Real is Rare aims to present love and commitment in a modern context that is relevant to US Millennials. The tone of these alternative ‘fairy tales’ is honest, the love is real and beautifully imperfect, and the rarity and preciousness of genuine connection is underscored. Couples are presented as equals, and the narratives are glimpses of their journeys together during a moment in time. Because authentic relationships are something we choose to recommit to every day, they are not to be taken for granted. Like a diamond, each is one of a kind, hard to find, and inherently precious.
Image from the DPA’s ‘Real is Rare’ campaign.
In its autumn 2017 advertising campaign, ‘There’s Only One’, Tiffany & Co celebrates the power of individuality and self-expression.
The campaign brings together six personalities from the areas of dance, music and performance, each chosen for her singular style, personal strength and imaginative vision to showcase Tiffany jewellery. Some of the faces of the campaign are actresses Elle Fanning and Zoë Kravitz, Oscar-nominated actress Janelle Monáe and supermodel Cameron Russell.
Actress, Elle Fanning, for the ‘There’s only one’ campaign.
De Beers Diamond Jewellers “Moments in Light” project is about celebrating talented women who in turn share their unique and inspiring stories with women across the world.
Photographed and filmed by Mary McCartney, iconic women such as the late Zaha Hadid, architect, model and actress Liya Kebede, musician Diana Krall, actress and singer Karen Mok, photographer Chen Man and artist Cornelia Parker among others, each woman revealed her personal “moment in light”, the particular instant that energised her to succeed. The project raises funds enabling women from war-torn countries to learn skills to rebuild their lives and inspire others.
Architect, Zaha Hadid, for the ‘Moments in Light’ campaign.
20. Female Tribes, J. Walter Thompson Company Initiative report, 2017.
22. Urban World: The Global Consumers to Watch, McKinsey Global Institute, April 2016.
23. De Beers-commissioned Diamond Acquisition Study, Japan, 2014.
24. JWT Women’s Index Study, 2015.
25. The Power of the 21st Century Woman, Charlotte Wooding, Luxury Society, July 2017.