Staying Relevant: Lessons from Martha Stewart and Bold Businesswomen

Martha Stewart’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover photo has taken the world by storm. The message of anti-ageism, inclusivity, and female empowerment has garnered widespread attention. However, amidst all the buzz, there’s an important point worth highlighting. Stewart and other savvy businesswomen are finding innovative ways to stay relevant, even as they age. Let’s delve into some valuable lessons we can learn from their experiences.

Collaborate with People Outside Your Lane: Establishing your reputation among your target audience is crucial, but extending your reach to adjacent and complementary audiences is equally important. Collaborating with individuals outside your usual sphere can elevate your status as a thought leader and expand your business. Martha Stewart’s recent collaboration with Sports Illustrated showcases this strategy beautifully.

Martha’s swimsuit photo has sparked conversations everywhere, from Men’s Health to the BBC, and countless offices, gyms, and living rooms. This unexpected move has generated immense publicity, inspiring other famous figures like real estate entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran to recreate the iconic image. Stewart’s foray into adjacent markets is not new—her unlikely friendship with rapper Snoop Dogg is a testament to her curiosity and willingness to learn. By continuously surprising the public, Stewart has managed to capture the attention of diverse audiences.

Refresh Your Brand: Your brand may be tied to your successes in a specific industry or niche. However, keeping your brand fresh is essential by seeking “at the moment” collaborations or partnerships. Iris Apfel, the 101-year-old fashion icon, exemplifies this strategy. She leverages her reputation by collaborating with younger, forward-thinking brands like H&M and Wisewear. Apfel’s ability to adapt her brand to current trends has led to tremendous success.

Be an Early Adopter of a Trend: Aligning yourself early with a trend that captures the cultural zeitgeist is an effective way to stay top of mind. Granfluencers, influencers between 50 and 100 years old, serve as prime examples. While many older individuals initially shied away from social media, granfluencers embraced it and now enjoy lucrative careers. Helen Vanwinkle, known as @baddiewinkle on Instagram, and Lillian Droniak, Grandma Droniak on TikTok, are inspiring examples of granfluencers who have amassed millions of followers and secured brand deals.

With inspiration from Snoop Dogg, Martha Stewart has also proven adept at spotting cultural trends early. For instance, she ventured into the emerging CBD market with her wellness gummies, demonstrating her forward-thinking approach. While not all of us can become granfluencers or business partners with celebrities, having the foresight to anticipate upcoming trends and investing time to understand their relevance to our customers can significantly impact our businesses.

Martha Stewart and other pioneering businesswomen provide valuable insights into staying relevant in an ever-changing world. We can adapt and thrive professionally by collaborating with diverse individuals, refreshing our personal brands, and being early adopters of trends. As Michael Clinton, magazine publishing executive and author, wisely notes, these women are redefining what it means to live longer and serve as inspiring role models. Let us draw inspiration from their journeys and find ways to stay relevant in our professional endeavors