March 6, 2015
Sunday, March 8 is International Women’s Day this year, and luxury brands around the world are celebrating with a variety of different promotions and events.
The holiday gives brands the opportunity to express their appreciation for women as well as to market to consumers who may be purchasing gifts for the women in their lives. By advocating women’s rights, brands can present themselves as socially conscious while at the same time capitalizing on an occasion that could lead to increased purchases.
"Gender bias exists at every social stratum, even in the most developed societies," said Rebecca Miller, CEO of Miller & Company, New York. "Brands may voice empathy and provide support by being affiliated with an international movement.
"Like the logo’s color purple, it symbolizes their support of justice and dignity of women and children," she said. "Consumers who feel passionate about what International Women's Day stands for will naturally be drawn towards those brands that are like-minded."
What women want
American fashion label Diane von Furstenberg is inviting consumers to visit any DVF boutique from Friday, March 6 until Sunday, March 9, during which time 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated to charitable organizations that have been nominated at the 2015 DVF Awards. Consumers will also receive a 15 percent discount on full-price in-store purchases, encouraging them to shop over the weekend.
Diane von Furstenberg advertised the IWD promotion on its Web site
The DVF Awards was created to honor women who have displayed leadership and commitment to a cause, and each honoree receives a $50,000 grant to further their work. Previous awards have gone to organizations dedicated to eliminating human trafficking, providing support for military widows and employing homeless mothers.
In 2014, many brands posted images on Instagram and Facebook to commemorate International Women’s Day. Doing so helps brands stay relevant by participating in a large-scale event that will attract a lot of publicity.
For example, British footwear label Jimmy Choo posted a picture to its Facebook page, wishing women a happy International Women’s Day last year. It is likely that many brands will do something similar this year to mark the day and stay connected with consumers.
Last year Jimmy Choo posted on Facebook about the holiday
This year, online retailer Net-A-Porter is celebrating the holiday with an exclusive sweater designed in collaboration with Chinti and Parker. The beige, cashmere sweater features pink stars and hearts that are intended to represent unity, strength, compassion and femininity.
The design is symbolic and empowering and will likely appeal to many female consumers who shop on Net-A-Porter. While proceeds are not being donated to charity, the sweater will help raise awareness about the event and encourage participation in other charitable promotions.
Net-A-Porter's exclusive International Women's Day sweater
British department store Fortnum & Mason suggested that consumers purchase its Ladies Favourites Basket as a present for the women in their lives. The basket includes Champagne, candies and jam, and is an excellent way to express appreciation on this day of recognition.
Providing unique products such as the Ladies Favourites Basket or the exclusive sweater from Net-A-Porter grabs consumers’ attention when they are focused on the international holiday. They are more likely to purchase a product that celebrates women when it is advertised on International Women’s Day.
Fortnum & Mason advertised its Ladies' Favourites Basket as a gift
Having events such as Diane von Furstenberg’s weekend sale appeals to consumers who are interested in recognizing the day and want to give back while purchasing something for themselves or others. By targeting them this way, brands are able to appeal to their emotions and form a lasting connection.
Brands often use their resources to promote social issues, and women’s rights is a popular cause. French luxury conglomerate Kering’s corporate foundation recently extended the impact of its female-focused efforts with a new charter between the company’s United Kingdom brands and non-governmental agency Women’s Aid.
Through the “Charter to combat and prevent domestic violence,” the 1,260 Kering employees based in the U.K. will receive training from Women’s Aid for two years and internal policies will be established. This allows the Kering Foundation to get the company’s employees actively involved in its cause, creating ambassadors who will help to spread awareness for the issue (see story).
It is also important for brands to honor women who have already made a difference. In 2014, LVMH-owned Champagne maker Veuve Clicquot honored successful women in business with an awards ceremony in France Nov. 3.
The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is given each year and was created in 1972 to celebrate the Champagne maker’s bicentennial. According to Veuve Clicquot, the women who are nominated for the award “exemplify the heritage of one of the first exceptional women leaders in the world of business, Madame Clicquot” (see story).
By supporting these endeavors the brands are both connecting with consumers and gaining publicity. Increased action will continue to bring these brands positive feedback.
"Platforms such as a much-needed cause like International Women's Day can enhance a brand’s image in the hearts and minds of consumers, but only if they take meaningful actions to support their declarations," Ms. Miller said. "Luxury brands need to continue to build growth organically and alignment serves as a natural path."
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York