From Nanette Foster, VP, Brand Planning Director, Palio
A few days ago I was driving home from work and I happened to catch a radio show discussing the sandwich generation. Then, while in my local Borders, I saw an AARP kiosk with brochures targeting the sandwich generation.
According to the Pew Research Center, about 1 in every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is caring for a parent who might be ill, disabled, or in need of financial support while also tending to children who require financial, physical, and emotional support. They’re being “sandwiched” between giving care to children and adults all at once.
There is a big opportunity to connect here. Surely, the sandwich generation woman will be more motivated to open up and connect with brands that share her mission mind-set. The sandwich generation woman is wellness-focused and proactively seeking products and services that help her stay on top of family and personal wellness. She is not waiting for her physician to guide her. She is out there finding the healthy solutions she needs. She believes wellness is up to her. Brands that share the goal of wellness and provide information and connections that help her attain it will have the best opportunity to build loyalty with this group.
The sandwich generation woman wants an authentic partner, one who understands the challenges she faces and communicates to her in a way that empowers and equips her to provide the level of care that her family needs. She is looking to have a dialogue with brand partners who talk with her, not at her or down to her, and who truly see her as the “healthcare professional” she is.
The sandwich generation woman can benefit greatly from support networks made up of women going through the same issues. While there are a few points of group connection online, the real need seems to be a personal one. Having a person available face-to-face to connect with fits her needs better. In addition, brands that treat the ailments most often experienced by the sandwich generation need to consciously talk with her in a way that shows they understand her situation and earn a place in her life. The brands need to prove that they are not only selling the woman a product but are truly investing in helping her effectively manage her health long term.
So, what is your brand doing to help feed the sandwich generation?