As part of its mission to become the favorite brand of jeans for twenty-something women all over the world, Levi's has just taken the wraps off its new global community, shapewhatstocome.com. The idea, the San Francisco-based denim company says, is to hook these Millennials up with what they want most: Inspiration, a new type of mentor, and great-fitting jeans.
The site sprang from the brand's extensive research initiative, which revealed that almost all -- 96% -- list "being independent" as their single most important life goal; 87% define success as being able to shape their own future. And while the company certainly expected the data to substantiate Gen Y's much-discussed free-spiritedness, Mary Alderete, VP/global women's marketing, tells Marketing Daily that she was a bit stunned by just how little they care about a traditional path. Only 68% say becoming a mom is on their priority list, 50% say getting married is, and just 43% ascribe much importance to getting rich. "Wealth came in dead last on their lists," she says. We asked her to explain how these Gen Y women are reshaping a brand launched long before women had the vote:
A: When you get beyond the numbers, it's fascinating -- they don't have a plan, they don't want a plan. The plan is to have no plan. They feel that having a plan would close them off to life's other adventures. What really impresses us is that there is nothing linear about the way these women see their lives unfolding. In that sense, they really are pioneers, and very different from previous generations. They view self-fulfillment in a very different way.
Q: What made you decide to do this research?
A: Well, this is the second wave. Our first research involved talking to women all over the world about their frustration with fit, which led us to the Curve ID line, launched earlier this year. We wanted this phase to look at what they want from life, how they see their future. We talked to about 1,000 Millennial women, from 21 to 29, in Brazil, France, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K.
Q: So why launch this new community?
A: One really intriguing finding was that they wanted a new way to find mentorship and inspiration. They told us they wanted a peer-to-peer relationship where they could get advice and give it, too. Again, not at all like traditional mentorship -- 77% say they believe mentors could be someone their own age. That's what led us to naming the 20 brand ambassadors we've chosen.
They are all young women in their 20s, doing pioneering work, from an Oxford-educated British fashion blogger to an American committed to sending young African women to school. And it was key, we realized, to make this be a community -- not just a site. They don't want advice from us; they want feedback from each other. To us, it was very clear they didn't want us to push content at them -- they wanted a forum.
Q: Levi's is an old brand, and Gen Y is notoriously unimpressed with anything venerable. How does this fit with the idea of what's contemporary?
A: Well, they see us as an American icon. And our "Go Forth" campaign really seems to resonate -- they also see us as a global symbol of creativity, courage, and authenticity. It's pretty exciting to see how well that positioning is supported by these new results -- these women want to blaze their own trail and have that pioneering spirit.