Posted March 1, 2010
Lavalife, the great Canadian innovator in using electronic technology – voice networks, the web, and mobility networks – to connect singles and enrich single life, has one of the most valuable brands on the Internet. In 2007 market research indicated a 66 per cent unaided, 96 per cent aided recognition rate. Not bad for a brand first introduced in 2001 as the place where singles click.
Until recently, Lavalife was focused extensively on young singles 18-34. Then CEO/co-founder Bruce Croxon decided he wanted to create a suite of singles services for people his mother’s age. This meant extending Lavalife’s brand into a whole new market and it was a challenging idea. How do you take a brand built on youth, adventure, and romance, providing services to technology-savvy, web-adept twenty- and thirty-somethings, and make it meaningful to baby-boomers (otherwise known as their parents)? According to Lally Rementilla, the answer is “very carefully.” Lally is the Vice-President, Finance of Lavalife and lavalifePRIME, a new platform “where singles 45+ click.”
The path toward the creation of lavalifePRIME was with research. “Primary research conducted by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) told us that the sexual attitudes of baby boomers had changed forever the way we view age-related problems pertaining to health and sexuality. This generation does not meekly accept these problems but sees them as within their power to control and overcome,” Lally told an ITAC group at a recent Digital Commerce Forum. The research showed that 75 per cent of single boomers date regularly and that women in the 40-50 age group are better educated and more affluent than ever before in human history. And, as Lally pointed out, they are not shy. “They are proud of themselves, they want a place to show themselves off and they are used to getting what they want.”
This research guided the creation of lavalifePRIME as a place to share interests and celebrate the whole person, a place to show and tell people who you are on your own terms. The service was launched in beta in 2007 and has grown largely by word of mouth. Lally’s advice on extending a venerable brand: “Start with no preconceived notions. Make sure the qualities and values of your brand can be consistent across the new product line. Identify and celebrate the unique qualities of the market you are addressing. And take your time. Extending a brand, especially an online brand, is always risky.”