All the single ladies (brands, throw your hands up)

Marketelle's Jessie Sternthal on why brands should be all over single 30-somethings.

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By Jessie Sternthal

I remember it well.

I was 21 and interning in New York for a summer when Sex and the City was in its second season and in full, take-your-landline-off-the-hook swing. New to Manhattan and a little timid, I remember the delight of being invited over to another girl’s apartment (who was probably closer to 30) to watch an episode with her friends over Thai take-out and corner store Pinot. There we were, crammed into a fifth floor cat food can on the East side, watching four effortlessly elegant and critically cool single women date, spend and pop-culturally speaking pave their way through what would become a reality for a generation to come (at least in spurts): Single, successful and totally un-stigmatized.

I may have been too young at the time to fully appreciate the message that was unfolding before me that night, but I knew it was big: Suddenly, it wasn’t only okay to partner later in life, but, it was more than okay to have as much fun, emit as much style and accrue as many experiences and stories as you can – before you do.

Ha.

Today, there are almost two million single women in Canada. And that number continues to grow. So how is it that so few brands are embracing this crowd? After all, if singles had no weight, how can we explain the onset and wild popularity of so many dating sites and meet-up apps? (If it’s not about Jdating, it’s Tinder-ing. If it’s not about OK Cupid-ing, it’s eHarmon-ing. Or is it, eHarmonizing? Anyway…)

I’d say that much of this large, smart, connected and cultured crowd has killer careers, killer apartments and killer taste. It’s a crowd that isn’t yet saving for their future kids’ college funds or a finished basement. And it’s a crowd that’s willing to spend their hard earned salaries on real estate (a quarter of all homebuyers right now are single women), health and fitness, a cute car (2013 was “The year of the female car buyer” according to Auto Remarketing magazine), travel, apparel, technology and way-too-expensive birthday presents for their friends’ kids. Or so I’ve heard.

It’s a demographic that is experiencing a hell of a lot of life. But one that brands aren’t speaking to very well.

de beers

Because the trap that’s so easy to fall into from a messaging perspective is this: It’s assumed that what single women want is to not be single. It’s more than just communications on meeting someone, on looking your best, on getting out there! Yes. That’s part of it. But just like all the moms you know have lives, interests, hobbies and careers outside of parenting, single 30-something women do more than eat yogurt and date. Or eat yogurt while on a date. Or eat yogurt after a date. Any combination works here, try it – it’s fun. Single girls in their 30s are doing stuff. Lots of stuff. And, they want to be part of the consumer conversation because they are your consumers.

Remember these gems from De Beers from the mid-’00s? Just cool and totally well-played.

Singlehood is a fluid, often temporary and always changing state. So is advertising. So I say to all those big brands – give the single girl a brassy little nod. She may not have sauntered the diaper aisle yet, but in the words of Carrie Bradshaw “Sometimes it’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun.”

So yes, that goes for you too, shoe brands.

jessie_1Jessie Sternthal is a senior writer at Marketelle. 

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock