Lupin 2023

Hallmark reflects diversity of younger generations

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KANSAS CITY — With a new year come new products, trends and innovation, and Hallmark knows that relevancy is key. “We continuously strive to create new product that is more relevant, to more people, more often. It’s imperative that we continue to evolve to meet the diverse needs of today’s consumers. We aim to create cards that get to the heart of what shoppers want to say, while authentically reflecting their lives and relationships,” explains Amy McAnarney, vice president and general manager of strategic accounts and business development.

McAnarney says that, as of 2020, 51% of the U.S. population is comprised of Millennials and Gen Z, and they are the most diverse generations in the history of the United States. She adds that another important aspect is that many generations are living together. One in five households are considered ­multigenerational.

She notes that Hallmark has been proactively developing new creative strategies to meet the needs of multicultural and multigenerational consumers. “Multicultural relevance includes themes around the importance of faith, family and home. Timely/topical content is an expectation, especially for African American and Hispanic American shoppers who see themselves as an early adopter of trends.

“Younger generations are looking for messages that reflect their own values — kindness, generosity, inclusiveness, importance of making a difference and putting good out into the world. Younger generations are often pop culture enthusiasts, and they appreciate Hallmark’s extensive portfolio of licensed properties, which they grew up with or have grown to love. Hallmark is leaning into cards and collections that help people connect based on characters, stories, interests and identities they have in common through pop culture. We’re incorporating trending characters and shows, like ‘Schitt’s Creek,’ ‘Ted Lasso’ and ‘Stranger Things.’ ”

She says that humor connects across generations. Hallmark Shoebox, the No. 1 humor brand, features timely designs and subject matter, including infographics, fresh lettering, meme-inspired photos, three-dimensional papercraft, and more. “To ensure we continue to drive growth, Hallmark will continue to lean into premium and papercraft. One of the fastest-growing segments of the greeting card category continues to be cards that lend themselves to becoming a keepsake, such as our highly designed Hallmark Signature cards and our three-dimensional pop-up papercraft cards that feature intricate designs and details — Hallmark Paper Wonder and Signature Paper ­Wonder.”

McAnarney notes that Halmark builds on the popularity of these card lines by innovating with new materials and formats across collections. “We are demonstrating category and brand leadership in the growing papercraft market by offering a range of impactful, unique and displayable three-dimensional papercraft cards. Each intricately crafted card unfolds, pops and expands to reveal a distinctive surprise.”

As for new products, she says Hallmark’s newest papercraft designs feature motion, sound, light technology, paper honeycomb, quilling and laser craft. “In 2023, we will introduce new, impactful and clearly funny Shoebox plus papercraft designs, new papercraft licenses and new, large-format pop-ups.”

She points out that beyond products, Hallmark will be innovating the shopping experience for the consumer. “Innovating the shopping experience is key. The acceleration of online shopping has impacted all categories across the retail landscape, and Hallmark knows consumers want and expect a seamless retail experience — whenever they shop and wherever they shop. A primary focus for Hallmark continues to be innovating new ways for our customer to find, buy and send our products. We are investing in capabilities that go beyond just creating a digital shopping experience — we are partnering with retailers to help consumers more easily connect with each other.”

McAnarney concludes by saying the company remains purpose driven. “Hallmark is driven by our purpose. We are committed to helping people live caring and connected lives filled with meaningful moments — both in our core categories like greeting cards as well as in new ways that enable people to express their love, support and care.”

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