Levi’s for Millennial Women: Marketing Tactics

I often write about the post-boomer generation and personality assessments.  I found an interesting press release about a study by Levi’s, about the challenges faced by the millennial woman.  In our book, It’s Not You It’s Your Personality, Toni Rothpletz and I write about the post-boomer generations, their personality issues and challenges. 

Before getting into the study’s results about millennials and their indepedence, which can be found below, I found it interesting that Levi’s put together this study.  Because I teach several Marketing courses and I am interested in marketing tactics to get a company’s message across.  I have often wondered about Levi’s popularity.  When I was young, Levi’s were the main denim that people wore.  I  wore 501’s for years and never looked at another brand.  Back then, your choices were pretty much Levi’s or Wranglers.   The cowboys wore Wranglers and just about everyone else wore Levi’s. 

With designer jeans, things have certainly changed.  Levis’ have quite a bit of competition.  About a year ago, Google posted some data about Levi’s brand awareness. Check out the results below:

The study showed a significant increase in Levi’s brand awareness among people who saw an ad in the top position but didn’t click on it, as shown in the chart below.


They also looked at data for “non-consumers” which they rather generously described as people who hadn’t bought Levi’s jeans in the last 6 months, as shown below.


As promised, the actual Levi’s study information is listed below.  Notice the “shaping the future” tagline when looking at the marketing aspect of a denim company sponsoring this study.  Check out what Levi’s found out about millennial women and their independent nature:

New Global Study Reveals that Independence Trumps Marriage, Wealth and Professional Success as Important Life Goals for Millennial Women

New research from the Levi’s® brand unveils shifting priorities and a desire to shape their own future; Brand launches ShapeWhatsToCome.com as a communal mentorship forum to help young women navigate non-traditional paths

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Levi’s®, the original, definitive jean brand, released the findings of a global study to better understand the challenges, expectations, goals and experiences Millennial women face around the world. The results show a surprising generational shift in life priorities and a need for a new, nontraditional form of mentorship.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101018/CG83298)

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20101018/CG83298)

In response to these findings, the Levi’s® brand has launched ShapeWhatsToCome.com, a global online community where Millennial women around the world can connect with peers and mentors to shape their futures.

“Since introducing the first pair of women’s jeans 75 years ago, Levi’s® has been a relevant part of women’s lives,” said Mary Alderete, Vice President of Levi’s® Global Women’s Marketing. “Today, young women face more opportunity in their twenties than any generation of women before them. It’s important we understand their mindset and their cultural and societal impact. We truly see ShapeWhatsToCome.com as a community of women changing the world – it’s a global platform of women coming together to share, inspire, grow and shape their futures.”

The Levi’s® Shaping a New Future study shows that women in their 20s are experiencing a world unlike women of previous generations.

Aside from living in a dynamic, rapidly changing environment, there are many choices and options open to Millennial women, and technology has dramatically increased their access to these different avenues in their lives. While these women are independent and focused on carving their own path in life, they are also actively looking for mentorship. But these Millennials view mentorship differently and now they are reinventing it: rather than a one-to-one, inter-generational passing of advice, they prefer to engage with their peers and other women of all ages and in different parts of the world who have experiences in their areas of interest.

Key highlights from the Levi’s® Shaping a New Future study include:

Redefining success and how to get there:

  • Ninety-six percent of Millennial women worldwide list “being independent” as their most important life goal.
  • Meanwhile, 87 percent of women surveyed defined success as “being able to shape their future.”
  • Last on Millennials’ priority list? Marriage and other more traditional pursuits – being a mother (68 percent), getting married (50 percent) and being wealthy (43 percent), were seen as far less essential in defining success.
  • Not only are Millennial women reshaping what success looks like, they’re changing the way they reach their goals as well. More than half (58 percent) of women worldwide “do not have a definite plan to achieve their long-term goals.” This lack of a “life plan” is precisely what Millennial women seem to relish – and perhaps what makes previous generations so nervous, leading to accusations of Millennials extending childhood into their twenties.


Re-imagining mentorship:

  • While they might not desire a prescribed path, Millennial women do express a need for perspective from other women. To that end, they are re-imagining traditional mentorship – transforming it into a communal exchange that’s two-way rather than one-way, shared among many women rather than one-on-one.
  • In fact, 94 percent of Millennial women agree that “the best mentors are people you can both give advice to and receive advice from.” In addition, 88 percent agree that “a mentor is someone who helps them shape their future, regardless of their age or professional experience,” and 77 percent say that “mentors can be someone their own age.”


“For many Millennial women, the expected path or ‘ladder’ towards adulthood – which included milestones such as school, career, marriage and motherhood – to be achieved in that order, has blurred,” said Lindsey Pollak, Millennial expert, bestselling author and lead collaborator on the Levi’s® Shaping a New Future study. “In its place is a web of opportunities that Millennials sample throughout their twenties, representing a different approach from previous generations. These women are challenging long-held beliefs about success as they navigate a complex world.”


ShapeWhatsToCome.com launches in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan. Twenty inspiring Millennial “ambassadors”, engaged by the Levi’s® brand and living in the U.S., UK and Japan ranging from up-and-coming artists and performers to twenty-something entrepreneurs and advocates for social change wukk enrich the community with content. Key ambassadors include:

  • Social-change advocate Tammy Tibbetts, 24, founder of She’s the First, which harnesses the power of social media to fundraise for girls’ education in the developing world.
  • Author Ashley Rhodes-Courter, 25, a former abused foster care child who now serves as a voice for the thousands of neglected and abused children in America’s foster care system.
  • New York-based Daisy Edwards, 26, a freelance animator, illustrator, designer and film producer, who is trailblazing in the male-dominated field of animation.
  • DIY fashion enthusiast Elsie Flannigan, 27, whose passion for vintage and handmade crafts led to the opening of her own boutique – Red Velvet Art in Springfield, Mo.
  • Up-and-coming photographer Lauren Dukoff, 25, who has captured some of the world’s biggest stars on film, including Lady Gaga and Beyonce.


“The Shape What’s To Come(SM) initiative builds on our global commitment to respond to the energy and events of our time by empowering young women to shape their futures by pursuing their passions and potential,” added Alderete.

Millennial celebrities who are uniquely shaping the future such as Zooey Deschanel of She & Him and singer/songwriter Janelle Monae will host live videocasts to further inspire community members. Millennial women can join the discussion at http://www.shapewhatstocome.com.

The study and community initiative come on the heels of the August 2010 introduction of Levi’s® Curve ID, a revolutionary fit system based on shape, not size. The fit system was created as a result of studying more than 60,000 women’s body scans and listening to women around the world who expressed frustration over finding the right pair of jeans for their unique body shapes.


The Levi’s® “Shaping a New Future: Women Navigating Adulthood in a New Millennium” study was managed by StrategyOne, an applied-research consulting firm. StrategyOne conducted a rigorous, two-phase study to provide projectable, reliable insights to form an understanding of Millennial women’s perceptions of this important juncture of their lives.

  • Phase 1: Qualitative – a comprehensive, global literature review and focus groups among Millennial women in the United States, France, and Japan.
  • Phase 2: Quantitative – for which a 15-minute telephone survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 Millennial women ages 21 to 29 across five countries: Brazil, France, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. A sufficient sample of respondents across the Millennial generation – Younger Millennials (age 21-24) and Older Millennials (age 25-29) – was obtained in order to compare perceptions, behaviors and trends.



The Levi’s® brand epitomizes classic American style and effortless cool. Since their invention by Levi Strauss in 1873, Levi’s® jeans have become the most recognizable and imitated clothing in the world – capturing the imagination and loyalty of people for generations. Today, the Levi’s® brand portfolio continues to evolve through a relentless pioneering and innovative spirit that is unparalleled in the apparel industry. Our range of leading jeanswear and accessories are available in more than 110 countries, allowing individuals around the world to express their personal style. For more information about the Levi’s® brand, its products and stores, please visit http://www.levi.com. For more information about Levi Strauss & Co. visit http://www.levistrauss.com.


Jeannine Benoit

Alexa Rudin



Levi Strauss & Co.


(312) 233-1307 

(415) 501-7645