Diane Meier

Diane Meier


Marketing guru, author of The Season of Second Chances and president of MEIER, a NYC based marketing firm whose clients have helped define luxury marketing (from Neiman Marcus and DeBeers to Maximilan Furs, Kohler, Elizabeth Arden and Pierre Balmain).

Her career has honed skills from strategy, writing and design to public speaking. Married to best selling author and BBC broadcaster, Frank Delaney, she has had much to observe about writing and speaking - from a front row seat.


As a marketer, charting the cultural anthropology of an audience or society is not merely an interest, it is the lifeblood of my work. The charting of my own generation has been particularly important to me, not only because it is my own community, but it has always been and will remain through our lifetime, the largest societal swell in the country’s history. When I began in the business of marketing, in my early twenties, I was hired specifically to bring the idea of our youthful generation to companies like Avon and Revlon and Elizabeth Arden. In my thirties I looked to establish the unique issues of women consumers to the strategic planning of brands, and I was among the first to identify the generational divide of men and women Boomers into more narrow and complex segments of psychographic attitude and choice, especially in regard to the luxury market. I lectured extensively about these issues – to top trade associations, major magazines and to countless annual meetings of major corporations.

The issues our generation face today, as we move through our 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, suggest a fresh assessment of where our work and our lives has led us. Generations before us rarely had the luxury, the opportunity or the need for such evaluation, or the option to change a career or a life-plan so far into a fully lived life. And so it continues to be, as it has since we were first identified as the Youth-Quake Generation, one long and challenging ride, defining its time, long before and after generations that preceded or followed us have done.

As a note, I’ve always written my own copy for ads. There was (and is), for me, no separation between the communication of the visual and the written word. Branding is the discipline of translating the personality of an entity (a line of products, a place, an object, a service or a concept – or even an ‘artist’ or ‘author’) into a form or forms that can be clearly understood by its targeted users. In many ways, the idea of “personal style” is exactly the same exercise. How we present ourselves -- in our homes, in our dress, in the maintenance of our lives, tells the world who we are.


My mother was a master of painted finishes, a teacher of the same, and a colorist for some of the country’s most respected interior designers. The idea that an interior was a “living art form”, available to everyone and yet theoretically as valuable as painting, sculpture or literature, was as natural to our family life as the acceptance of food on the table. Even as a child I was allowed, in fact, encouraged, to choose the fabrics, carpets, colors and art for my rooms. My father was a businessman and contractor who specialized in international and energy-conservative projects. His positive, ethical and practical values guide me every day. But he was also and admittedly a ‘frustrated architect’ -- If he’d had his way, he’d have created houses and bridges and things that gave practical purpose to sculpture. An immensely creative, though practical, man.

When I grew up to become an art director, I created the environments for the products we photographed and represented – with a strong direction to fashion and home design. And I tried to create real-life homes full of detail, charm and comfort. The environment of living was always an essential part of the story to me.


I was, in the early 1970’s the Public Relations Director of the National Organization of Women. Like many young women at that moment, I struggled with the idea of redirecting my interest in design, fashion and all things “girl” toward more a acceptable medium. Marketing was a natural fit for me because it allowed me to examine these feminine things on behalf of my clients, like an outsider or a scientist, rather than a user or a consumer. It kept me safe from being seen, if only by myself, as a “girl”.

In The Season of Second Chances, an important theme is found in the element of redefining feminist ideals to embrace the gifts of home, family, sensitivity, trust and most of all, the expressive, textural and creative options we have for defining or reflecting our sense of ourselves. Joy is caught in the bind of a 1970’s idea of Feminism (Second Wave Feminism). She discounts and undervalues what is female in herself and in her life. Yet we see that she values them in Teddy. And there are others who are more ‘evolved’ – Bernadette, for instance, Joy’s superior, certainly has thought about this part of women’s lives and has grown beyond rejecting the things that were culturally relegated to women, to valuing them as part of a larger compendium of human (not simply female) gifts.

This is not intended to suggest a book that turns away from professional achievement, or the struggle for equality, opportunity or fairness, but one that moves us toward a culture that appreciates emotionally connected and personally expressive individuals of both (all) genders as a mark of mature civilization.

Still, I hesitate to write what I suspect we’ll see in reviews: “A middle aged woman gets a second chance” --- But I hope it’s taken as a jumping off point for far more serious discussion about our culture and our lives.