Being a Man: The Metrosexual Era a Decade On

The force behind metrosexual mania in 2003, Marian is now CEO of Havas PR North America, which produced this paper. Click here to read more about how she helped usher the word into pop culture and how what it means to be a man has evolved since then.

PR Professional of the Year and so much more…

Award-winning blogger, brand marketer, public relations executive and social media innovator As featured on CNN, "60 Minutes" and "Good Morning America," and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph (U.K.), The Times (London) and more

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Headstrong

Read Marian's award-winning four-part series from the Huffington Post about the brain (including creativity, collaboration, the information onslaught and the new definition of braininess) here.

Excerpts

From “CEOs and PR in the Age of Social Media,” presented to the Polish Associations of Public Relations PR Forum, October 2013: “Knowing about social media isn’t the same as understanding it. What makes social media challenging for CEOs? Forget command and control—social media is anarchic. Social technologies re-humanize business. Social technologies are part of ‘real time’ culture. Social media authenticity starts at the top.”

From “Health, Media and Marketing Trends for 2014,” presented to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media, August 2013: “Health Trends: Not Tired of Fatigue. From decision fatigue to status quo fatigue, ‘always on’ fatigue to workplace fatigue, we’re all anxious and overwhelmed.… Media Trends: Long-Form Journalism Is Not Dead: Apps and tablets provide a delivery method for long-form articles. Conventional wisdom was wrong; people did want to read long stories—they just didn’t have a means to do it.… Marketing Trends: Digital Marketing Is Still Vital: Reaching consumers on the go, through mobile, is key; so is making connections with consumers online through relationships that foster loyalty.”

From “What’s Next for Western Europe: Six Key Trends,” presented at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management, April 2013: “In terms of the Western European way of life, the only constant is change. As the eurozone crisis continues to play out, Europeans will continue to look for the silver linings: An extended economic impasse has given rise to ‘positive deviants’; crippling austerity measures have forced new creative solutions to pre-existing problems; and a population pushed to the extremes of the quest for perfection can now warmly embrace their natural state—imperfection.”

From her keynote address at the Brava Awards for the YWCA of Greenwich, Conn., February 2013: “I don’t need to tell you that the second half of 2012 was tumultuous. From Hurricane Sandy to Sandy Hook, communities across Connecticut were put through the wringer.… Yet instead of holing up and wringing our hands in isolation, Connecticut citizens, like their counterparts across the country, have increasingly been coming together.… I am optimistic that the people who are adopting our newly collaborative society can prevail and set a new tone for our culture. It might fatigue all of us who want to work toward cooperation and community, but we need to remember that progress and privilege bring with them the responsibility for all of us to do our part.”

From “Trends 2013,” presented at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, January 2013: “Life is a co-production, and collaboration is the hottest concept at work and home (especially there, as multiple generations gather in the communal nest). All the ‘co-’ words (co-creation, co-parenting, commingle, coincide, copreneurs, even coincidence) take on bigger meaning because ‘you + me’ is somehow armor and protection against the wild world, and also brainfood to ensure that all the ‘i’ stuff (isolation is the worst, though infection sounds fairly vile …) doesn’t happen.”

From “Millennials: Reshaping the World One (Cautious) Purchase at a Time,” presented at the International Retail Design Conference’s Roadshow, Millennial Edition, June 2012: “Not all brands need to have a deeper meaning. In commodity categories, millennials don’t feel their brand choice is an important personal statement. But brands that particularly want to connect with millennials and identify with them must understand the importance of being authentic, real. This doesn’t
mean being goody-two-shoes, holier-than-thou. There’s plenty of range for being dark, subversive, ironic or whatever, provided it’s authentic and self-aware.”

From “15 Trends: Marketing to Women Around the Planet,” presented at Gulf Marketing Review’s Marketing to Women Conference, May 2012: “In most developed markets, growing numbers of women are moving into their 40s and beyond. The median age of women in Canada is 42, and it’s 41 in the U.K., 40 in Poland and 38 in the U.S.”

“It’s time for marketers to develop better ways of addressing this important demographic—ways that feel genuine, not euphemistic; celebratory, not consoling; mainstream, not nichey. Among the younger demographics of the Middle East, it’s even more important to find better ways of connecting appropriately with maturing women as they find their place between traditional and 21st-century roles.”

From “A Look at the Now: Thinking of 2012″: “Technology is the CRUCIAL new factor in the art and science of trend tracking. It enables us to sense and read the moods of groups and communities in real time. It makes events and responses to them move faster. Monday’s hot news can feel like ancient history by Wednesday. It increases the number and speed of interactions, increasing complexity by an order of magnitude.”

“As the age of the population rises and the economy-stricken mood languishes, there’ll be growing calls on healthcare. The effect across markets is a fragmented mix of semi-scientific voodoo, full of contradictory and complementary elements—folk remedies (e.g., gargling with salt water) and alternative beliefs (e.g., homeopathy) alongside pharmaceuticals and supplements.”

From “Deciphering Consumer Trends and Their Impact on the Outdoor Industry,” the Outdoor Industry Association’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Industry Breakfast keynote address, August 2011: “Millions of Americans could get huge benefits from stepping out of their centrally heated or air-conditioned comfort zone. The outdoor industry needs to practice rugged love to convince more Americans to develop a hands-on love of rugged.”

“With social media on mobile devices, consumers can have the best of both worlds: doing activities outside and being able to connect as much or as little as they want (sharing experiences, favorite trails, pictures, bragging rights and more).”

“Go west! (Or at least go outside.) The great American outdoors—and heritage brands that reflect it—can refresh the souls and stiffen the sinews of the nation’s beached white males. For outdoor industry marketers, here’s the positioning: soft core vs. hard core; ironic vs. serious.”

From “Trends Affecting the Consumer Landscape,” presented at Millward Brown’s Marketing Conference, April 2011: “Welcome to the New Consumerism, where more is not necessarily more anymore. What is the new version of the American dream? What is essential in your life and what can be cut? The rules have changed thanks to our disgust (and distrust) for Madoff’s antics and the gluttony of Wall Street.”

“Local is the new global. Why do we care more than ever about our close environs? We live in an increasingly interconnected world where boundaries have evaporated thanks to trade and technology. But for all the magic of globalization, change still happens at the local level and people are most interested in seeing positive impact in their own communities.”

From “#GenderReboot,” presented at London’s TheStoneClub, February 2011: “#GenderFood4Thought: What’s affecting seismic shifts in gender NOW? We are living in an age that is acutely digital. Thanks to boomers and the sexual revolution, we are more open about sex and pleasure. The baby boomers became parents who cosseted their children—boys and girls alike—and told them anything is possible. Gender is being shaken, not stirred, these days as we continue to redefine what is going on with men and women.”

From the closing keynote panel at DMA:2010, October 2010, about the business of social media: “The ability to have ‘human billboards’ will serve brands well by using consumers who are naturally talking about their products.”

From “Global Consumer Insights & Social Media Tools for Harnessing What’s New!” presented to the Integrated Marketing Communications Program at New York University, June 2010: “Trendspotting is tracking people, social momentum, brands, economies and companies—like the world, all in constant motion. Trends are hard to figure, difficult to tease out, tough to share. But trends mean business. Earlier is better, and getting it right is even more important.”

From “Snapshots of the Near Future,” presented at Executive Forum, June 2010: “With diminishing returns from job and career, nobody wants to work long hours in the office anymore—all the action is, truly, at home.”

“Money will be top of mind, still—from microfinancing to changing the financial system for the next generation, all while demanding honesty in transactions.”

“Chindia—the rising superpowers China and India—will keep enchanting and puzzling the Western world. Growing markets, changing demographics. East remeets West.”

From “The Transformation of American Youth: From Teenager to Teenagent,” the opening keynote address at AdweekMedia’s 12th Annual “What Teens Want” marketing conference, May 2010: “It’s as if the core definition of teenhood in America can no longer be negotiated by age but rather—just like in those societies with rites-of-passage rituals—by the kind of actions and activities. No longer the inactive lumps who are characterized by passive hanging-around (be it at the mall or in the 7-Eleven parking lot), they are now agents of change, agents of communication, agents of innovation. This best defines the American teen today, not just against the rest of American society, but also against teens as they were once construed.”

From “The Bright Future of Retail Shopping,” presented at the Philips Fashion People Light workshop to specialty retailers, May 2010: “Store design isn’t all that will be customer-influenced. As we move into a world in which T-shirts are custom-designed online, where a customer can choose his or her Mini’s color and interior details on the brand’s website, and where even Nike, once a corporate monolith, lets customers modify their shoes online, stores will eventually be filled with custom content, too.”

From “New Attitudes, Hours, Tools and Tactics,” presented at the Bulldog Reporter Summit: Building Business and Leadership in the New Economy; PR’s Fastest-Growing Agencies Share Their New Business Strategies, April 2010: “Our now answer: Newsengine U will ensure the outside comes in—and goes out. Our now approach: The Sisterhood will ensure we have the intimacy with consumers that sisters share. Our now analytics: Prosumers are the ultimate influencers, and we’ve been tracking them since 2001. Our now acronym? YWC—yup, anything is possible in the age of can-do.”

From a live Q&A with Travel + Leisure Editor Nancy Novogrod at the American Express Publishing Luxury Summit, April 2010: About a luxury client’s desire to feel a sense of community while he or she travels: “Don’t be too folksy. Clients want a home-stay experience, but they don’t want to literally stay in a home. They may want a home-cooked meal, but they don’t want one that comes with the lack of oversight of cleanliness and nutrition.”

From “Ten Concepts That Are Changing the Future,” presented at Fundación Telefónica, April 2010: “Prosumers believe that everything is within reach and decide whether or not to pay for a service.… [They] are people who are trustworthy and exuberant, who are living a new kind of social life in which geography, time, politics and religion no longer exist.”

From “Welcome to the Age of the State of the Social Mind,” presented at the Institute for Career Advancement Needs’ 17th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, April 2010: “This is the age of trialogues. Of square marketing. Of SoMe. Size doesn’t matter; breadth and depth of connections do. Demography and geography aren’t so relevant anymore; intimacy is. Think hyperlocal; people, brands and marketers are. But beware the virtual bully. Flip side: Causes, awareness, social responsibility, social action. Blending and blurring: Life meets work for the ultimate convergence. Feeling the need to unplug? Time is the ultimate luxury item and our most precious resource. Everyone is just a click away. Good? Bad? Both.”

From “Trends for 2010,” presented to the Texas Apartment Association, April 2010: “Watch as people look for communities to belong to, where they can feel at home, understand the issues and make a difference. And watch as more and more brands and marketers connect to them there, with hyperlocalization being the buzzword.”

From “Fashion Forward: Trends and Forecasts for Boomer Women,” presented to private investors in the retail sector, October 2009: “One thing is for certain: They aren’t dressing like their mothers. Or even like 40-somethings did 10 years ago. With generational blurring—40 is the new 20, and 50 is the new 30—women in their 40s still consider themselves young and are dressing the part.
What this means for brands: Ambience needs to be ageless and inviting—and communications need to be inclusive versus stodgy.”

From “The Magazine Industry on the Verge,” presented at the MPA Innovation Summit (panel discussion), October 2009: “The old model of marketing magazines is broken. Age is not a very important thing now. I would argue that parents of 6-year-olds have much more in common than do 35-year-olds, who may be at very different stages of life from each other.”

From “Prime Angst,” presented at Advertising Week D.C., September 2008: “In this era of subprime shenanigans, trans fats, and inconvenient truths, American consumers have woken up to confront a gross reality: We—and our natural resources—are overextended, overweight and overwhelmed. We are spent in more ways than one. And what we want now is not more, more, more. What we want is less, less, less. Americans are saying so long to splurging. Bye-bye to bling. Au revoir to overindulgence. Today it’s out with the disposable and in with items and engagements of meaning.”

From “Becoming the Gold Standard,” presented to Crowell & Moring, September 2008: “I think it’s obvious that the reputations of professional-service organizations are built over the course of years, not days or weeks. It’s not an instant gratification game. It’s about choosing a mission and finding ingenious ways to accomplish it. For the World Economic Forum, the secret was Klaus Schwab’s ever-increasing web of influence and eagerness to expand his mission. At Pricewaterhouse Coopers, it’s mining corporate knowledge, focusing it on high-profile subjects and packaging it with expert analysis and proprietary data. For the Tisch Brain Tumor Center, it’s a relentless focus on saving lives that leads to endowments and generates recommendations.”

From “Time: The New Currency,” presented to several audiences globally, 2005–2006: “Time may seem like an objective, measurable reality, and part of our brain certainly thinks of it that way. But to paraphrase Albert Einstein, ‘Time is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’ ”

“I don’t mean to suggest that time doesn’t exist. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between objectively measured time and people’s subjective perceptions and experiences of time.”

“Does it really matter how people perceive time? Well, yes, especially if you’re in the business of perception, which most of us are. If the notions of ‘30 seconds’ or ‘15 seconds’ or ‘time slots’ have ever meant anything to you, then you know that how people perceive time is a real business issue.”

From “Ads and the Cultural Zeitgeist,” presented to several audiences globally, 2005–2006: “Consumers now are vastly more choosy and demanding than they ever were. They’re getting adept at using the Internet to find the information they need about products, services and prices. They consult and indeed write blogs about products they’re thinking of buying.”

“All of this looks like the writing on the wall for the advertising industry. Of course there will still be many consumers who passively put up with being interrupted and ambushed by unsolicited advertising, and some of the branded messages will get through and they will go out and buy the products.”

“But for the canny, many of whom are used to have control and exercising it, it’s going to be a matter of either giving up on them or else crafting communication that they will deliberately seek out.”

From the Shop.org Annual Summit keynote address, 2003: “Today more than ever, the customer is always right—and to best serve him or her, retailers must understand the trends and societal shifts that are shaping consumer, and prosumer, attitudes and behaviors.”


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