Key Marketer Takeaways From The 'Rat Girl Summer'

Consumers are more focused on self-care than ever before, a trend sparked during the pandemic that’s still current.  So it’s critical for brands to keep this in mind when deciding how to best connect with their customer base.

Today’s consumers are living out their Rat Girl Summer -- that is, embracing themselves for who they are and ignoring society’s expectations to look, act or feel a certain way. Created by TikTok user Lola Okola, the Rat Girl Summer movement is the latest trend consumers are hopping on to prioritize their health and wellness.

For those looking to embrace their rodent energy, here are four rules to keep in mind:

  1. Go Outside: Rat Girl Summer is all about taking advantage of any opportunities to spend time outdoors.
  2. Enjoy eating: Participants, or Rat Girlies, are encouraged to forget trying to look a certain way to meet society’s expectations and instead eat whatever makes them happy and feel great..
  3. Kill the cringe: Rat Girlies should do whatever they want without feeling embarrassed.
  4. No overthinking: Go with your gut and follow your intuition.



Authenticity Sells

Today’s consumers need to know that their favorite brands are aligned with this heightened focus on being their authentic selves -- and are following through on their promises. Authentic brands see higher levels of trust from consumers, leading to long-term loyalty which is ultimately better for business. After all, rats don’t care much about what other people think of them.

One brand that does this really well is Aerie, a retailer fully committed to showcasing different body types with models of all sizes, with little to no retouching on images used in all marketing materials.

Mental Health and Wellness Messaging

Destigmatizing mental illness is something that younger generations feel very passionately about. Rat Girl Summer is about practicing self-care and doing what’s best for you, and today’s consumers are more open about sharing details of their mental health struggles. As such, it’s become increasingly important for brands to be communicative about their commitment to self-care.

It’s important for brands to tread carefully here, as consumers can see right through brands that don't walk the walk. It’s not enough to push mental-health-focused messaging in marketing campaigns without taking action to support the cause. This could mean partnering with a nonprofit to offer access to your brand’s resources -- such as marketing services, financial services, or even legal help -- for free or creating new mental health resources for employees. Actions speak louder than words, so you’ll want to follow through on your promises to consumers, or you might see them scurrying away.

The most impactful change starts from within, and part of being a truly authentic brand means practicing what you preach to make sure the Rat Girlies don’t scamper away. Brands should ensure they’ve created a culture for employees to be their true authentic selves at work, with access to resources and initiatives that support their mental well-being.

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