Here’s looking at you, kid(s)…
First of all, in case you missed it, there’s a new blue blood on the way to drain the taxpayer funds (apologies to any Royalists out there. Oh, and the Americans – who are all rejoicing at the news on their side of the pond). Yep, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Kate and Wills to their friends) are expecting baby number three.
And in other munchkin news, department store John Lewis has caused uproar because of its new children’s clothing label.
Political correctness gone mad or environment awareness embraced?
We’ve heard it a lot over recent months, when the tabloids hit on a story based on user feedback about sexism in children’s clothing. Earlier this year, Morrison’s were being slated for having t-shirts with slogans for boys that read ‘little man, big ideas’, whilst the girls got ‘little girl, big smile’.
And earlier in the year, Mothercare were under fire because the clothes for boys had science themes and big statements such as ‘genius’, whereas the items for girls were all about the frou frou with glitter and sparkles.
So, it really is no surprise that a department store has taken customer comments on board and brought out a range of clothes that emphasises the similarities of children.
Surely the ‘Girls and Boys’ (‘or Boys and Girls’ as half of the items are tagged) label is a good thing that should lead towards greater consumer satisfaction, right?
Wrong! It seems this has caused as much concern as the probable user experience monitoring that brought about the change in the first place!
At least in the press, anyway.
In less dramatic circles, it appears not many people have noticed, since the new stitched label and combined ‘Girls & Boys’ clothing swing tags were apparently introduced at some stage last year.
John Lewis have said they don’t want to cause a negative emotional user experience by reinforcing gender stereotypes and so took this route so that the parent or child can choose what they want to wear. They are basically saying – with their ‘Let Clothes be Clothes’ campaign – that they believe kids should be kids, regardless of gender.
And whether or not you agree with the decision, there’s a lesson in it for all of us. Consumers are becoming more aware of their environment, so it is important for businesses to move away from more traditional stereotyping and promote their products and services in a progressive manner.
(Of course, it’s important to know your audience before you start to make any drastic changes: this is where The Monachie Project comes in with user experience monitoring!)
Love ‘em or hate ‘em…
Even the royals are getting in on the act when it comes to ditching gender stereotyping.
Granted, I don’t imagine we will see young George in a tutu or Charlotte in a football strip anytime soon but, prior to the birth of Prince George, there was a radical shake-up of laws that removed discriminatory male bias, meaning that Kate and Wills’ first child would have been destined to be monarch even if it had been a girl.
Before the about turn, any male infant would have usurped an older, female sibling to take the throne.
And let’s face it, the Royals do seem to be successful. Whether you love them or hate them – I always think that they have the same impact on the world as the Kardashians but perhaps with less drama and without the sex changes – there is no escaping their existence and media presence.
So maybe we should look their way for some business insights? After all, they are, quite probably, the most successful business in British history, navigating ups and downs with ease and using someone else’s money to do it for much of the time!
Yes, they fall out of favour every now and then but they always seem to manage to rise above it.
Remember the uproar about Charles and his Mistress?! “How dare he do that to Diana?!”, people cried.
Case in point. When anything happens to Mummy, he will become King, with said former mistress at his side. Yet there hasn’t been a huge outcry from the public for him to abdicate and let William take the throne, because Charles has worked tirelessly to regain favour.
Social media has perhaps been the Royal family’s biggest friend, because it has brought them into the present and allowed them to be in control: something that is vitally important to any business.
They understand their audience and connect with them: millions out there will be delighted by the news about the patter of tiny little feet.
They have always been the masters of spin, but thanks to social networks, they can negate any negative press much more easily by having their own true voice to set the record straight (did you know you can tweet directly to Buckingham Palace?!) Being able to control your own business narrative is a must if you want to manage consumer expectations and offer a positive end user experience.
Plus, stand-offish royals are a thing of the past: they seem to be showing far more personality. And that is important too. Consumers have so much choice in today’s world, that it’s important to be more than just a seller of products or services.
So, get in touch with the Monachie Project team today and let our user experience monitoring give you a detailed insight into your business from a customer prospective.
Then get out there and rock it like a royal and justify your decisions like John Lewis: give you audience what they want, keep up with the times, take control of your own destiny and let your personality shine!