Sportsgirl leads the conversation on body positivity

Sportsgirl has just launched its 13th Love Your Body national campaign in partnership with The Butterfly Foundation, in an effort to increase awareness around eating disorders and encourage positive conversations around body confidence and body image.

Sportsgirl customers are invited to take part in the 2019 Butterfly Foundation Body Esteem Survey, which will be open for a month online. Last year’s “Insights in Body Esteem” report revealed an overwhelming 73 per cent of respondents wish they could change the way they look. 

Meanwhile, limited edition “wearable art” scrunchies designed by four female Australian artists are currently on sale at Sportsgirl, with all profits going to The Butterfly Foundation.

According to Kate Rees, national marketing manager at Sportsgirl, it is imperative that brands exercise a duty of care when speaking to their young and impressionable customer base. 

“Often brands take the positon of a role model to their customer and can be highly influential in customers’ buying behaviours and thought processes. It is imperative that brands take ownership of the way they portray their products and models both in-store and online ensuring a positive message is shared with their community,” Rees said.

Indeed, the Love Your Body Week initiative comes off the back of another recent campaign from Sportsgirl, Be That Girl, which featured several Australian women including influencer Sammy Robinson, Ghanaian-Australian DJ and MTV presenter Flex Mami and Mercy Sang, editor of POCC magazine, which celebrates people of colour in the arts. 

“It is important for the women in our campaigns to relate to our customers.

For this particular campaign and for the first time, Sportsgirl also invited five customers to create their own content to form part of the campaign,” said Rees. “Each of the girls selected their own looks from the collection and then shot the content themselves on their own devices. This content will be used across Sportsgirl’s channels for the duration of the campaign, creating a refreshing way for customers to be included in Sportsgirl’s national campaigns.”

According to Sportsgirl, the aim of the campaign was to encourage young women to step away from the pressures and manufactured perfection of social media and instead enjoy their everyday real lives.

“It is important that we are showcasing and being respectful of the incredible diversity of our customers, particularly on social media. More and more, this is where our customers are going to find out the latest news and the latest trends and as a brand, we have a responsibility to utilise the power of our platforms ethically and consciously and develop a sense of community for our audiences,” Rees said.

“Social media has become infamous for filters, face tune and curating an unachievable lifestyle. Retailers need to take a step back and market what is important in life, be real, relatable and create a sense of community.”

Duty of care

According to business coach and former international brand manager at Supré Catherine van der Meulen, teens and young girls are often easily influenced by brands, so it is retailers’ responsibility to be aware of how they engage with their customers.

“Young girls look to brands for confidence, empowerment and to educate them on what’s right and what’s wrong and how to express themselves through fashion, accessories and styling that’s appropriate to their age,” she told Inside Retail Weekly

“Teenage girls embed these brands into their entire lifestyle to help them to define who they are. If we want to see our future generation of girls and young women feeling empowered, confident and full of self-worth, we need to educate them on these things through how they express themselves, what they wear and how they behave.”

Van der Meulen believes brands have come a long way in the way that they communicate with younger customers, and she is particularly impressed with the direction the Cotton On Group has taken Supré since the business was sold several years ago. 

“I am extremely proud of the way they have positioned the brand as a socially, environmentally and confident young woman who cares about her friends, family and the community,” she said.

The dos and don’ts

While diversity and inclusivity are now often discussed across businesses, it’s important that retailers don’t simply jump on the bandwagon.

Marketing expert Emma Sharley suggested retailers take the time to really get to know this younger generation, their values, passions and interests. She also pointed to Microsoft and its relentless support of encouraging young girls into STEM subjects as an example of a brand leading in this space.

“Spend as much time as possible understanding their evolving lifestyle, behaviours, and perceptions, involve them and value their voice (across product development to communications and campaigns), be honest, real and inclusive,” she advised.
“Build or partner with movements that reflect both your brand’s values and their values, and design campaigns that sit comfortably on the devices they’re using.”

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