TEDxUCLWomen: Zeroing-in on new notions of home
Feminism comes in many wonderful forms: in all races, all genders, and all walks of life.
This year’s TEDxUCLWomen at The Great Hall in East London was no different: it was filled with a multicultural group of feminist leaders – female and male – and the event was packed with insightful, passionate talks from design innovation strategists, magazine publishers, and textile designers to YouTube vloggers, radical therapists, theatre makers, and museum directors. Hosted by Nicole Crentsil, the independently organised University College of London event, gathered hundreds to talk about the theme of home and what the word means in today’s social and economical landscape. To many of the speakers and attendees home meant different things.
As brands and marketers look at how consumer purchasing might change, as a result of evolving technology in the home, it’s worth looking at how we think about it as a concept and content theme overall. We’ve seen many companies try to predict what the future of the home might look like for us. For example, Unruly created a Home of the Future to help give brands and creative teams a peek at what the home might look in the near and distant future.
At OMD EMEA and especially at Create, OMD’s digital creative and content specialist, we utilise social listening tools to help us tap into the needs and desires of consumers. Home has a different meaning to all women across the world, and as multi-national specialists we take this into consideration to create authentic, compelling content. Our aim is to make speed-of-culture conclusions on what consumers want their lives – and home – to be filled with, whether it’s a product that can help make their lives easier or more enjoyable or tapping into a need that we didn’t know they had. For Disney, we identify what parent consumers want and what they and their children aspire to be. This could include promoting a new kind of confidence and empowerment through characters, to help inspire audiences to believe in the magic of Disney in a new way. We identify themes that authentically resonate through monthly content audits and trend reports that help us find out more about how they consume content – all of which usually happens in and around the home.
This year’s TEDx theme of home helped inspire a lot of notions about this very personal space and its many definitions. The talks covered a wide net of women’s issues and kicked off with Dr. Olesya Myakonkaya, founder of Mars Nation, discussing how a space mission might affect the way we think about and develop future interior and exterior design. For Myakonkaya, it’s not just how the rooms we live in will or should change in functionality and overall aesthetics – whether on earth or on Mars. It’s what home will mean to future generations and what today’s generation will instill in society to help define and redefine the meaning of home – how our innate humanity and what makes humans truly special will continue to permeate everyday life via functional design.
We also heard from social sculptor and anthropologist Shelley Sacks who reflected on how her childhood experiences of apartheid shaped her reality and notions of how people should behave in the home. The class division she saw as a white South African, and which was normalised for her, created certain etiquette and behavioral rules that are archaic today. She works with communities-in-need to help them redefine their local spaces and reflect on the past to build on future projects. As marketers try to tap into today’s post-apartheid generation in the ZA market, it’s important to remember that this group of young people make up a generation that hasn’t experienced apartheid personally. For example, their views on the world are inspired by their past but vary quite differently from their parents’ generation.
Fashion brands also continue to approach product strategies to not only make their offerings stand out but make a genuine positive impact on their consumers and the world. The environment and eco-friendly products are popular. Fashion designer, “textile alchemist,” and founder of The Unseen, Lauren Bowker talked about her experience growing up in her small town home of Reed, experimenting with her town’s history of magic, being connected to nature, and at the same time dreaming of being a fashion designer. She channeled these passions and turned it into amazing reactive tech: fashion inventions including heat and pollution textiles that blend science along with how this tech will help tell us more about the environment around us – our home.
It’s clear from hearing from these various speakers that the role of the home is different to women in each country. For marketers, ensuring that each market is approached authentically – as mentioned prior – can help connect brands with women around the world and provide connections and help them build on their own definition of home in a meaningful way.
Glynnis Mapp is the content director at OMD EMEA’s Create group in London. Follow her @glynnismapp