This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was a massive spectacle of 3-D televisions, tablet computers and other fun devices, attended by over 150,000 people. But it was also a reminder that big companies are recognizing the importance of Baby Boomer women to their success.
One such company, to my surprise, was AARP. Not that AARP doesn’t value the importance of Boomers to its growth goals. But AARP has, in the past, tended to equate Boomers with the Medicare-buying seniors it has served for so long.
One of the highlights of CES was the latest gathering of the Silvers Summit, organized by Robin Raskin and Sherri Snelling. The day’s first keynote was a conversation between MSNBC’s Alex Witt and AARP’s Chief Brand Officer, Emilio Pardo.
Alex Witt, a Boomer woman herself, showed natural sensitivity to the needs and interests of other women like her. And Emilio Pardo described some recent research by the AARP evidencing a desire to understand these women, too. Some of what he said sounded familiar to me.
He described how Boomer women are now having a multi-generational conversations with their friends and family members of all ages, and are no longer isolated (as their mothers were) with their equally isolated peers. I’ve written recently about evidence that there is no longer a generation gap between Baby Boomer women and their children. The reality of being “50+” looks a lot different than it did 15 years ago.
Pardo said that AARP’s research has identified a “new language of aging.” At VibrantNation.com, we’ve seen that language in use since we launched our site. Women don’t like the term “lifelong learning,” which just reminds us that they’re older. What’s wrong with the single word, “learning?”
Both Witt and Pardo also called out the problematic word “reinvention,” which can sound overwhelming (and implies that there was something wrong with the woman to begin with). Both recommended using the term “reimagining,” which gives power to a woman to take charge of her life with the skills she already has.
Finally, Pardo shared a graph revealing that Boomers now find themselves in a new lifestage, one between the late 40s and the late 60s that didn’t exist before. The path of learning and discovering continues well past the stage when it ended for their parents. Boomer women have been telling us for many years that they inhabit a lifestage all its own, one where the most important reference is other women like them. I’m glad the AARP asked them about it.
The AARP has come a long way, and I’m glad for it. But they do have one remaining hurdle. Pardo didn’t mention it, but there’s another word that Boomer women (and Boomers of both genders) don’t want to hear, as I’ve written before and, unfortunately it’s a word in their own name: “retirement.”