Representation for midlife women is more than publishing articles on menopause or featuring one relevant model in an isolated campaign. These women aren’t a passing trend, nor do they easily fall for surface-level attempts to connect. Brands need to start demonstrating a profound understanding of their nuanced needs to avoid falling into the trap of tokenism. 

In our recent webinar, “How Your Brand Can Genuinely Win Over Midlife Women,” Sue Benson, our MD and founder, engaged in a dynamic conversation with industry pioneers—Sam Walker, CMO of N Brown; Penny Brook, CMO of Canada Goose; and Trish Halpin, renowned journalist and host of the “Postcards from Midlife” podcast. 

The discussion uncovered 3 powerful key brand strategies that you can embrace to help you market your brand more authentically to midlife women.

Go back to basics

Sam Walker, CMO of N Brown

“Our strategy is rooted in fundamental marketing principles for our midlife women campaigns. Our core goal is authenticity, which to us means genuinely understanding and accurately representing their needs.

The feedback was clear upon market review: invisibility, feeling ignored, and unsuitable products defined our audience’s experiences, so these became our focal points.


Customer-centric product development

We set to work on understanding the midlife woman by what’s essential to her life stage and body type. Recognising the nuances between different sizes and ages is crucial. A size 12 fits differently at 55 than at 25.

Our research led to the development of realistic tailored sizing patterns, a vital aspect of our approach. Traditionally, in fashion, if a garment doesn’t suit your body type, the suggestion is often to size up. However, this can have a negative psychological impact. We empower women through their clothing; our customers shouldn’t have to size up for a better fit.


Appropriate messaging 

Achieving authenticity requires a customer-centric approach aligned with your proposition, especially in content creation.

Boots could talk about healthcare topics for midlife women, but if we did it, it would be inappropriate. So, instead, as a fashion brand, we focus on body confidence, styling tips, and suitable cuts when connecting with midlife women. 

Avoid topics misaligned with your proposition to prevent tokenism. Instead, gather insights from your audience, focus on what your brand delivers, and build expertise within that space. That’s how you create authentic products and a resonant marketing strategy.”

Recognise the vast life experience of midlife women

Penny Brooke, CMO of Canada Goose

“Having joined Canada Goose (CG) as an early 30-something over a decade ago, I am embarking on this beautiful journey into my midlife era.

What I love about our audience is their tenacity to overcome challenges – how the human spirit transcends age, gender, and background. We have observed a blend of adversity and triumph, which resonates significantly with the midlife community. As both a marketer and someone representing the community, it became clear that we needed to shift our conversations. It was time to stop focusing on the superficial and focus on matters our community cared about.

This gap stems from a lack of education in the early years, where we aren’t educated on the whole life cycle of men and women. The conversation gets to reproduction, and then it stops. It has become a trend that the conversation stops at menopause when engaging with a midlife audience. While the menopause agenda is important, broader discussions with midlife women are equally vital.


Walk a mile in her shoes

Don’t forget, this is a generation of women who are unashamedly themselves. They have been through it, know who they are, are done with BS, and are beautifully honest. The advice they give and the stories they share are real. When your demographic is a midlife woman, she can spot your inauthenticity a mile away. From a commercial perspective, if you get it wrong, she will never buy into your brand.

Midlife women have more going on than menopause. Understanding where they’ve come from and where they’re going is vital to success. You are dealing with a unique generation of women. We are shattering archaic traditions and living for ourselves more. In the ’90s, we put Ibiza on the map. Some of us still love dancing until 2 am. Income and time are more disposable for those with adult children who have since moved out. Some still might have kids at home and are juggling tasks. You have women celebrating 25 years of marriage, coping with divorce or loss, changing careers, starting businesses, or expanding rapidly thriving ones.

Midlife women have amazingly vast life experiences. To make your campaign a success, you must start seeing women as the unique, diverse individuals they are and speak to all the challenges they’re facing, not just focus on menopause. Of course, it’s important to stick to the aspects of these women relevant to your brand to remain authentic.”

Representation and diversity are vital

Trish Halpin, “Postcards from Midlife” podcast host and ex-magazine editor

“As co-host of the Postcards from Middle Life podcast and ex-magazine editor for Marie Claire, Red, More!, and New Woman, I’ve grown up alongside the women who make up the midlife demographic for the best part of 30 years. 

Alongside my co-host, Lorraine Candy, we launched the podcast because there was no other platform for women over 40 having the essential conversations. Our guests, celebrities, and experts alike were opening up about personal experiences in a way they never had before, simply because no one ever asked.

Fast forward four years, our private Facebook community alone boasts over 13,000 women, demonstrating the powerful sense of community we’ve cultivated.

The warm response to our platform has been powerful. It’s a testament to the desire of the women we connect with that they want to see more of this content. 


Foster shared experiences

What we noticed the most was that women want to hear from others who think and feel like them, seeking humour, joy, empowerment, and inspiration from those facing similar challenges. They appreciate the nuances of tried-and-tested brands and products that enhance comfort relevant to their lifestyles. 

Women want to feel like they’re sitting around the brunch table with their friends, laughing at the shared aches and pains they’re going through.

The balance we create on the podcast has the same impact and creates connectivity because it’s rooted in lived experience and representation.


Your vibe attracts your tribe

Two examples of influencers that are demonstrating this representation well include the likes of Lucy Wyndham-Reedor and Michelle Griffith Robinson. 

Lucy is a midlife fitness influencer on YouTube. As a mum trying to juggle getting the kids out the door with her job, all while understanding that her health and well-being are important, she shares seven-minute bite-sized workouts, something many other women can relate to. 

Michelle is a former Olympian turned motivational speaker. She’s a fabulous lady in her 50s; her energy, fashion, and style are invigorating and infectious; just watching her makes you joyful.

Women seek their tribe in marketing and products, questioning if they see themselves in their community and feel safe. Brands should inspire this sense of belonging. The results are powerful when women feel like they’re not alone.”

Authenticity over tokenism

You unlock genuine authenticity by adopting these three insights, recognising mid-life women as unique individuals with diverse experiences, harnessing customer-centric product development, and fostering the proper representation. To make meaningful connections, you must first understand the core of these women.

Want to know more?

Download our report here.

Watch the webinar here.