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Riding the brand wagon

03 March 2012

I don’t buy cheap mascara and I don’t get time to do a lot of make-up checks. Lipstick aside (which I can refresh and replenish without a mirror), I’m thinking of giving make-up away – well, mascara. I can’t be constantly checking for owl eyes… that beauty faux pas which is especially bad in Sydney, no matter what your mascara brand, where the potential for run increases in line with the humidity. 

It’s at this point that I have to stop and say: that might be the only time in my life I’ve ever uttered the word ‘brand’ in the same sentence as ‘doesn’t matter’. After all, who doesn’t think ‘brand’ is King? Or in Ruby’s case, Queen. Certainly, she’s taking women’s markets, and the whole bank, to a new level.

Staff and our customers love her because she’s focussed on diversity. Of course, when so many people want to be part of her polished, exciting potential, it’s important to jealously guard her identity and integrity and we’ve done that by appointing ambassadors to look after her across the company, increasing her reach but not at the expense of diluting the strength of her message. 

Not only does Ruby give us a way to talk to our female customers at the pointy end of Women’s Markets, she’s our way to reach out to the broader female population at the local level. And that’s the value add for everyone involved with her: Ruby remains strong and focussed while her message, and value, reach further and further into the community. 

A community we know has so much to say and offer and one we’ve again been diligently mining for answers about how we think and feel when it comes to money and lifestyle choices. Your answers have been captured in the results of our new survey ‘Generations of Women’, launched to celebrate what has now become our very significant, annual calendar of events surrounding International Women’s Day. 

Under the lead of our CEO Gail Kelly and as one of the first major banks to sign the Women’s Empowerment Principles, we take great pride in our contribution to increasing awareness around the Principles, around the day and around raising money for UN Women to continue its work looking at the global potential of women in every facet of life. 

Our ‘Generations’ survey uncovered some really profound differences between the way our mothers, our daughters and granddaughters view their choices and see their futures… not unsurprisingly, a great many similarities popped up as well. I think if we look at and understand the differences while utilising the benefits inherent in finding similarities, we are in the best spot to harness both energies to create better outcomes in the future.

What I found really heartening is that Gen Y gets it. They’re money savvy. They understand what’s required to lead independent, financially stable lives now. (That’s not what we found with Baby Boomers and the majority of Gen Xers.) But that’s not a cue for Gen Y to go off and gloat. For anyone born after 1979, just like your Gen X buddies and your late Baby Boomer parents, you really could be doing more to ensure your long term, future financial stability. 

It seems, there’s a serious disconnect between expectation and reality. Gen Ys have the ambitions and aspirations but they’re not setting in motion the steps needed to get there. They are great savers and are the first to take into consideration whether they have enough when deciding to have children. In fact, Gen Y won’t marry unless they have the money to afford the wedding they want. (As for their choices surrounding partners: Gen Y women won’t look at anyone who isn’t financially secure.)

So what about those Xers, the oldest of who are now in their mid 40s (well and truly into their mid-life crises) and the youngest in their mid-ish 30s?

Unhappy with where they are in life in general, we found their focus is on family and finances and investing in housing. In fact, 60.7% of Gen Xers wished they’d saved earlier for a new home. Over half believe where they are now financially and where they expected to be, do not match up at all, and most wish they’d done something different with their superannuation. Very few gave the cost of children a thought. They just had them. They also felt enormous pressure to have them, hold down a job and succeed.

(Note to self: Gen X is prime ‘real estate’ for my super and getting your life in control message.)

And what about my generation? The Baby Boomers’ refrain: ‘How much is enough’ rings throughout their answers. Is my health good enough? Is my financial wellbeing good enough? Have my children done a good enough job choosing their life partner? Will working until I am over 66 be enough? And just like our Gen X children, we thought they were enough in themselves and not about whether we had enough ourselves.

It’s been fascinating analysing what women think across the generations, but that’s not been the end of it. We’ve also highlighted where we’re able to offer useful support. In fact, our special offer available through Ruby in every branch in March is our gift to you. Ask us about it, and see what your cohorts think about the world in which we live by going to our Generations of Women survey.