Pushing Past Stereotypes: Understanding the Plus-Size Woman + How to Better Connect with Her

How to better understand abnd connect with the plus-size woman by undersatnding her influences, favorite brands, retailer and media sources, and more

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17% funded

10% for you,
10% for your friend

Who is the plus-size woman? This increasingly important consumer audience is often misunderstood, under-served, and/or over-looked by retailers and brands.

Objectives

  • Identify key emotional and rational drivers that are influencing how plus-size women think, feel, and act when it comes to brands, retailers, inspiration, and media sources.
  • Gain a deep understanding of the plus-size woman beyond demographic profiles, including both personal and category insights.
  • Evaluate the comparative strengths and weaknesses of 50 specific brands and retailers when it comes to what plus-size women want and need. (NOTE: See preliminary list below by clicking on “Additional Deliverables” under "Analysis & Deliverables").
  • Understand how these 50 selected brands stack up against key measures of relevance, engagement, connection, and inspiration for plus-size women.
  • Discover critical insights on why some brands, retailers, and media sources are succeeding with this group of women and why others are struggling.

Why?

This project is a deep dive into the psyche and behaviors of this audience, revealing the plus-sized consumer as a person — her values, lifestyle, expectations, and the choices she makes when it comes to fashion, retailers, and brands. We will explore and identify how and where she finds inspiration, what sources she uses, and what is missing in this mix.

Using a mix of ethnography and quantitative analysis, we will identify and explore key drivers that are influencing how she shops and how she makes decisions about what she wants for herself, with actionable insights on what brands and retailers can better be doing to communicate and connect with her.

Methodology: Qualitative/Quantitative

Design Rationale:

We need to conduct the most creative, energetic and interesting research possible to get at the heart of what plus-size female consumers really think, how they actually behave, and what they expect from brands and retailers. Sterile research yields sterile results and, worse yet, it can lead to what you want to hear but not what truly drives behavior. Focus groups serve a purpose, but not here. It is important that what we do literally feels fresh and insightful to the participants. That’s why we roll up our sleeves and go out into the world to speak with people in their own environments. In this way, we encounter real influences and influencers.

To put some numbers to the insights, a quantitative study will be used to validate qualitative insights and learnings.

Approaches:

Rather than asking what plus-size women what they might do, we find out what they actually do and how they think. In meeting with plus-size women on their turf and/or providing them with a way to share their experiences and their personal stories, we’ll be able to dig deeply to uncover often hidden and fascinating tidbits that lead to clear, honest insights.

Qualitative Design

Number of research sessions (or interviews) by specific approach:

20 ethnography interviews, with a mix of methodologies including mobile insights and journaling, virtual communities, in-store shop-alongs, and in-home closet tours and in-home interviews.

Qualitative Research Target

Gender: 0% Male, 100% Female

Ethnicity: Approximates national population distribution

Ages: 18 to 65

Behavioral/Lifestyle Screening:

- Has shopped for plus-size apparel and/or shopped in the plus-size department for self at least twice in past year.
- Mix of retail stores, ranging from online to mass to luxury.

Geography: US Only; Approximates national population distribution

Number of Markets: 3

Specific Markets:

The qual phase will include a midwest market, an east-coast market, and west-coast market.

Quantitative Design

Number of Interviews: 1000

Interview Length: 10 minutes

How Sample will be Segmented:

- Age segments: 18-24, 25-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-65
- Detailed data tables will offer breakdowns: ethnicity, age (see breaks above), shopping behaviors, geography, brand or store preferences.

Sample Source:

Pulled from a trusted partner's database.

Quantitative Research Target

Gender: 0% Male, 100% Female

Ethnicity: Approximates national population distribution

Ages: 18 to 65

Behavioral/Lifestyle Screening:

- Has shopped for plus-size apparel and/or shopped in the plus-size department for self at least twice in past year.
- Mix of retail stores, ranging from online to mass to luxury.

Geography: US Only; Approximates national population distribution

Deliverables

Reporting: Formal Report

Presentation: Web-based

Additional Deliverables:

Detailed report in Keynote and PDF to include qualitative and quantitative findings, insightful imagery, and edited consumer video. The deck will be approximately 80 slides in length. An in-person presentation is available for an additional cost; please inquire.

CUSTOM ANALYSIS:
As a sponsor, you’ll get a special section of the full report that is tailored specifically to you and your brand, including:

- In-depth look at how the plus-size woman views your brand
- Comparative analysis of how your brand is viewed alongside other brands in your category
- Insights as to where your brand is connecting with your consumer and where your brand should place more attention
- Specific actions your brand can take to better connect with the plus-size woman in a more meaningful way

This study will include the following 50 brands and retailers:
Amazon
Ashley Stewart
Ava and Viv
Avenue
Bali
Banana Republic
Baublebar
Belks
Bloomingdales
Calvin Klein
Champion
Dillard’s
Eileen Fisher
Forever 21
Gap
Gilt
Google
H&M
Hanes
Hautelook
Ideel
J.Crew
JCPenney
Jockey
Just My Size
Kmart
Kohl’s
Lane Bryant
Loft
Macy’s
Maidenform
Marshalls
Neiman Marcus
Net-A-Porter
Nordstrom
Old Navy
Playtex
Saks
Sears
Soma
Spanx
Talbots
Target
TJ Maxx
Torrid
Tory Burch
Urban Outfitters
Victoria Secrets
Vince Camuto
Walmart

In-person presentation available. Ask Big Squirrel for pricing and timing.

Funding Timeline (once project is approved): 60 days

Timing: 12 weeks from funding to delivery of final report

Supplier

Company: Big Squirrel

Previous Projects: 1

Rating:

Supplier's Qualifications:

Big Squirrel is a boutique consultancy that fuels curiosity and wonder about people, culture, and brands. We help clients to ask the right questions, articulate roadmaps for how to think differently, and ultimately instill confidence to activate ideas. Our work includes brand strategy definition, retail experience activation, product development ideation and audience exploration. Most recently, we reinvented the retail experience for Maidenform, explored how women shop at Target, and took a deep dive into the luxury woman’s psyche for buying beauty products online. We have worked with all types of companies, including PepsiCo, Tillamook, KinderCare, Avon, Nike, Champion, Hanesbrands and Cartoon Network.

We study people. We explore culture. We examine brands.

Supplier's Team:

Linda Jeo Zerba (partner) and Kathryn Spitzberg (partner)

Incentives

Co-funders will have the option to include their own brand, retail store, or media source in the research. If your brand is already included (see preliminary list below by clicking on "Additional Deliverables" under "Analysis & Deliverables), you may select a competitor to be measured.

Also see "Additional Deliverables" for a description of brand-specific analysis.

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04/05/17

Here's a critical consumer segment that's under-served. These insights, in the hand of the right organizations, can change that.

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