Men have been a focus of our culture lately. And not in a good way. Many say that men are coming to terms with a new male identity. One that’s difficult to define, but is less macho and more about finding confidence through realism, balance and self-awareness.
Many things have caused men to question their worth and find a new role in their family and in society. The recession (often called a mancession since it impacted more male-driven jobs than women-driven jobs) has removed the security from the equation. No longer does hard work lead to achievement which leads to success which leads to security. That’s not a sure bet. Today, more feminine skills help people succeed in business, like empathy, teamwork, communication, negotiation and relationships. Clinical Psychologist David Wexler says that, “while men are under assault like never before, with a barrage of stats about how they’re falling behind women, they are embracing change with humor and equanimity.” But, men are having trouble finding their footing amidst shifting relationship dynamics. They’re trying to find a way to relate intelligently, be sensitive parents, manage their emotional needs with more consciousness and depth while still trying to feel like men.
But men have been evolving since agencies have been targeting them. Nothing new, right? Well, not really. The real added layer of complexity that is unprecedented in history is the cultural and social stratification of men today. What should marketers do? Help them! Instead of speaking to yesterday’s male stereotypes or consoling them with inauthentic messaging, brands should be helping them feel independent, valued, respected, strong and inspired. Recognize the new Journeymen mindset. There’s no shortage of advice out there for men in the form of books, magazines and news stories from all sorts of experts. But men will find their way. And the brands that are part of that will be the brands that win.
Sources: Iconoculture, Gads of secondary reading, 22squared proprietary anthropological study