Knowing How To Market To Women Helps Marketing To Men, Too

November 19, 2017


My first office job in marketing was at Roxy, Quiksilver’s women’s apparel brand. I learned a lot from that job and the solid crew of women I worked with, whose passion for the brand spoke through the inspired advertising and marketing they created. It quickly became clear to me that we weren’t selling just product, we were selling a lifestyle and a community that consumers would want to be part of. At Roxy, we instinctively knew women shopped differently—spent their money with more of their heart or their ethos than men—because we were those women shoppers.

Companies that couldn’t rely on instinct but that still wanted to expand their women’s market hired professionals and researched the way women relate to a brand, discovering that women experience brands holistically across all channels, that we seek connections and shared values and want solutions vs. products. These concepts have now largely become the goal of marketing in general, not just marketing to women.

A Complete Experience

Brands who were the early adopters of the hallmarks of marketing to women have not just weathered the storm of the constantly changing consumer economy—they have excelled. Take Nordstrom. They always understood their consumer and the extras of service that were required to maintain loyalty; from personal shopping, a reward program and free tailoring of new purchases all the way down to having nice restrooms and a place to get food and coffee. Plus, they offered all of these things even back when I was a kid—and that was before Internet! For this reason, they have always remained relevant in my landscape of shopping options.

The Importance Of Service & Community

Even beyond the sharing economy, businesses are quickly expanding on or incorporating the concept of community and loyalty-building through added service. For instance, CamelBack’s guarantee that replaced my kids cracked water bottle even after three years of use, or Madewell, which found my size in a sweater at another store and had it shipped to my house free of charge, even though it was already on sale.

The Big Box stores used to excel by providing the convenience of having everything in the same spot at once. That is no longer enough—you can get that from your couch at home while watching your favorite Netflix show. Brands now have to offer more: more community and more services to give the consumer the holistic experience they now seek.

In a world where most communication takes place digitally, the tried and true pillars of women’s marketing resonate with consumers beyond any specific gender. They offer an idea that can build the community aesthetic we desire, giving consumers EXPERIENCES and SERVICE beyond merely THINGS. Large or small, businesses that offer a personal connection to other like minded people, like the artisan workshops and creative space at the small boutique Field Trip in Portland, Oregon, or Nike Women, which fosters community building and service with their free NTC app that provides original content for a new or favorite workout each week. These brands have more than the “things” I want, these brands are delivering on additional levels: Service. Experiences. Community. These brands now have my loyalty.

Intuitively knowing these pillars of brand building is a powerful tool—one the ladies of Clutched Key specialize in.



AIGA: Women in Design Recap

June 16, 2016

As a female focused studio, gender is an issue we don’t avoid talking about. Jen was invited to speak on the panel to kick off this AIGA series tackling topics regarding design, career paths, leadership, work/life balance, family, the next generation of female leaders, and more. It was followed by a brief Q+A, all moderated by Kristin Rogers Brown, Art Director at Bitch Media, Assistant Professor at PNCA.

Panel Included:
Jen Lorentzen | Creative Director at Clutched Key
Keri Elmsly | Executive Creative Director at Second Story
Liz Valentine | Co-founder and CEO at Swift
Tsili Pines | Founding Co-Director of Design Week Portland, Host of CreativeMornings, Creative Director at FINE

Jen’s recap below:

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We agreed we wanted to answer questions about design from our experience as women, but not discuss specific issues relevant to being a woman. We discussed gender on a few points, but wholly it was a perspective based evening.

Most of us agreed that women aren’t asked to speak enough, the reasons for that were speculated in line with industry coverage on the subject (women have to get home to families, that they don’t get asked and then don’t come up in searches, etc). We all agreed you say “yes” when you’re asked so that it perpetuates a reality where it happens more. We talked about the benefits of single speaker content verses panels and and how they connect differently with an audience. Single speaker can be more complete and thoughtful because there is usually a message and and a thesis. Panels, like this one, are stronger when the participants varied backgrounds bring contrasting insights to the same topic. Each panel member had wildly different roles and experience – but there was a lot of consensus on the issues we discussed.

On mentoring.
There is an expectation that women mentor women, and while senior women should make sure junior women are not being left in the dust, my mentors have been gender equal (two men and two women). As a woman, I do my part to answer the emails I get from young female designers, but you can’t ask to be a mentee. It’s all about chemistry, and these relationships are organic and grow like any other. Like-minded mentors suggestions might seem more natural, but their suggested approach comes with sage wisdom and experience. Other mentors have a really different approach and their perspective can be enlightening and influence how you handle a situation differently than your gut reaction. A mentor doesn’t need to be from the design scene – sometimes it’s all about personal dynamics and how you handle challenges, not just the craft. Appreciate the chapters and the people who help guide you through them, it’s important to understand they will come and go.

On preserving the Portland design scene.
I think the most important facet is to keep the collaborative vibe happening. In the small studio scene there is a great community between friends and colleagues that help each other. Not just for billing or logistic help, I have shared files for help tweaking a letterform I can’t get right. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes, and that sharing and collaboration makes us all deliver better work that elevates the credibility of Portland studios. Liz talked about how Swift works hard to hire people who share the principals they see as relevant so that these new folks contribute to the scene instead of derailing it.

On conferencing vs collaboration.
When I went to the 3% Conference in SF it seemed like the biggest waste to have 450 of the best female creatives there listening to panels of people who had experiences similar to their own. Where was the call to action? Where was the take away? When we hosted Mahfia Sessions we went out on a limb to host a gathering that activated those who came to help solve a problem, not just listen to others give their perspective. I think this was an amazing way to engage, build relationships and for everyone to learn something. Women respected each other and everyone got out of it what they put in.

On being the only woman.
In the Q&A a young designer asked if she was compromising by staying at a studio where she was the only female. I asked her if she was happy, to which she replied that she was. One of the best chapters of my career I was the only female on a team. We worked seamlessly and looked out for each other. It’s all about the people – never walk away from a good team (it will be over before you know it)! This exchange at the event prompted me to reach out to those guys and we engaged in nostalgic email banter that lasted days.

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AIGA: Women in Design

February 24, 2016

Jen is being featured on a panel hosted by AIGA Portland. We’ll be gathering together during Women’s History month for our first in a series of panel discussions to talk about women in positions of leadership. This panel will tackle topics regarding design, professional career paths, leadership, work/life balance, family, the next generation of female leaders, and more.

Thu, March 10, 2016
6:00pm – 8:30pm
3529 N. Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227

Members $10
Non-Members $20
Students $5 (present current student I.D. at the door)


Social Sustainability : does it drive purchases?

April 16, 2015


According to the Guardian, companies that adopted environmental, social and governance policies in the 1990s have outperformed those that didn’t.

55% of online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact (Nielsen). 52% of global respondents say they have purchased at least one product or service in the past six months from a socially responsible company. The annual above-market average return for the high-sustainability sample was 4.8% higher than for their counterparts and with lower volatility.

Millennials represent 51% of those who will pay extra for sustainable products and who check the packaging for sustainable labeling. 71% of Centennials go further by saying: “Always having new stuff is overrated when what I have already is good enough”.

Brands are connecting to this three ways:

Grassroots Social Mission: in action sports, brands like Sweet Cheeks and Drink Water have cultivated a following through social media and athlete initiative to raise awareness of their cause to a young audience. These brands are small in numbers but have a big presence with donated resources from athletes, agents and agencies (like yours truly). Giving isn’t huge, but the message gets out and awareness is half the battle.

Brand as vehicle for Social Change: Toms is by far the most successful example of this – their whole DNA and position is that giving back is the most important part of being a brand. Why buy products from anyone else when you can buy theirs and someone in need gets a pair of shoes, glasses, or clean water assistance. They deliver in the “One for One” capacity and are constantly working on improving conditions, process and more localized production.

Brand with Ethics: Patagonia has had steady market growth over the past few years (+30%) by being committed to innovating sustainable manufacturing, standing for longterm investment by repairing your products for life (even championing those stories of well loved product with Worn Wear), and giving back to the environment by supporting activists and partners with shared values (like Protect Our Winters).

Consumers are making choices to go with purchases that bring a benefit beyond the transaction. This behavior is on the rise – it’s time to prioritize pairing the social cause with your brand’s consumer.

Let us help you strategize ways to infuse your messaging achievable social sustainability elements. Consumers will notice.

[1] Robert Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou, and George Serafeim for the Guardian Professional Network
[2] The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility



April 7, 2015


City Club Of Portland Event Wednesday 4/8: Entrepreneurship as ‪#‎WomenInSports‬ with Clutched Key Collective, Society Nine, Emily Corso MMA, Handful and World Class Athletics. Register here.


Do Jamie Anderson’s sponsors care she’s not doing the same tricks as Sage Kotsenberg?

March 20, 2015

Jessica Dalpiaz :

As a female snowboarder, I never thought Sage Kotsenberg was sponsored so that I would buy a Nitro snowboard or Nike boots. I never even thought he was trying to inspire me to do a backside double cork off my heels. Call me crazy.

I’ve had many a debate with my male compatriots who see progression of humans on a snowboard in a linear line, not one separated by the sexes. That’s fine if we are talking about the progression of snowboarding as a whole.  We ladies will admit we would be farther down on that line than we would like, but does this fact have relevance when we talk of marketing or the validity of sponsoring and promoting female athletes?

Brands need women to connect to women. If I see a ripping female snowboarder on a “XYZ” board, I take note. If I see a man ripping on a snowboard I’m impressed, but I’m not curious about what board he’s riding – even if I know that brand also makes women’s boards. I want to know about her snowboard (what kind, size, directional?) and probably ask her about it and why she chose it – especially if I’m looking to buy a new one. The woman doesn’t have to be doing the same most technical tricks as the man in order to elicit this reaction.  It makes no difference that the man is a “better” snowboarder than her.  I still want to know what she’s riding because it relates to me. 70% of women learn about products/services from other women [1].

Marketing using female athletes connects with me on an emotional level. When done right, I really take note of the brand and a little cog in my brain clicks over and I think more highly of the brand, not just the athlete.

In a study by Ben Barry of Cambridge, consumers increased their purchase intentions by over 200 percent when they saw models who reflected them. When models didn’t, consumers decreased their purchase intentions by 64 percent.

Be a brand that inspires more women and girls to take up the sport by promoting women. Women’s professional Snowboarding will progress as the talent pool grows.

Invest in your female consumer and she will pay you back with interest.


[1] Center for Women’s Business Research, Washington, DC.

Photo: Jamie Anderson lands her first 1080 at Nine Queens.

Marie France Roy talks embracing the differences in gender at the Not Snowboarding Podcast. “Why is there that expectation? Why does it matter so much? We’re different, physically and mentally, and in society as a whole”. She goes on to say that physically women tend to be more vulnerable to injuries, and mentally there is less of an instinct to take risks the same way. “There is always that little voice in the back of our brain that says ‘this is risky’ – people should appreciate that women are facing these other factors and the fact that they (still) go out there. To see the women at games on those big ass jumps spinning and doing crazy cool tricks… I think its really progressive, even though a lot of people talk shit. I find it very disappointing, for me it’s the most inspiring thing ever and I wish people saw all of the aspects a bit better.”


The story of KEY NOTES

February 20, 2015

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Jen Lorentzen : My grandfather produced the blue “Notes” tablet above as promotional material for “Plastic Binding” at H&A Printing Co in the late 1960s. They litter my childhood memories – filled with doodles, grocery lists and fort rules. When we needed a promo item for CKC it made sense to reinvent the design.

I am lucky to have quite a few of his tools adorn my desk – his ruler is a treasured item because I use it day to day.

He worked in communications during WWII, and worked in printing with the DOD after his service. He moved into the private sector later, working for printers along the east coast. I guess you could say print design ran in my blood.

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My grandfather (center) at Darsel Printing in Richmond, VA. So interesting how it looks like any press room in the present – minus the dapper neckwear!

Our notebooks are made here in Portland, by Scout Books.



February 2, 2015


We just wrapped the SIA Snow Show with Nikita Clothing, and met just before with a friend about prepping for Capsule. It reminded us to jot down the items we never leave without for booth install (the less glamorous side of the design process).

duct and double stick tape
adhesive strips
super glue
velcro strips
thumbtacks (nice metal ones)
box cutter
measuring tape
nails in a couple sizes
power (extension cords etc)

comfortable shoes
hand sanitizer, advil
biz cards and note paper
tripod for photos (the light is always low)
WATER (yes, again)

Let us know if you have anything to add that has saved you!


Mahfia Session SIA

January 25, 2015


Please join us to take a look at/contribute to the toolkit we are developing to progress authentic communication toward the female action sports participant.



November 12, 2014

Jessica Dalpiaz: Recently Chanel N°5 used surfing in their online film stories, “The One That I Want”.

In the past Chanel videos, especially the ones done by Baz Luhrmann, have had great story telling (although perhaps too romantic or Hollywood) and were intended to reflect contemporary facets of the Chanel woman.

The newest Chanel film, in its attempt to reflect these facets, uses the model/actress surfing.   It’s cool to see this character trait in the model/actress in the story, however the shots of her looking longingly at the man in the house mid drop in make the scenario laughable. She just dropped in to a big wave and yet her eyes are trained on the man in the house? The story just lost all viability to the surf culture’s trained eye.

Couldn’t they have portrayed what they were trying to get across without using those ridiculous shots? They may mean nothing to 80% of the population who knows nothing of surfing, but they have turned off the part of the market that does.

Like CSI using trained professionals to keep their stories somewhat plausible, perhaps Chanel should also have done likewise when using a sport that has a huge cultural following. The world is dealing with knowledgeable consumers who love to call bullshit especially when their revered sport is not portrayed authentically.

Authenticity is key in storytelling.