Abigail Adams the U.S. First Lady in 1776 famously said – “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to forment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation” – this got me thinking about female engagement; how we reflect what really matters to them, and how our campaigns represent the ideals and motivations of women today.
The fairer sex has arguably undergone the biggest transformation of a century. Earning more than ever before and increasingly taking the role of provider, they have also been unable to shake off the expectations of the traditional role – immaculately turned out, brilliant cook, perfect host and inspirational mum. While having it all has its up and downs and these are regularly played out in the features pages of broadsheet newspapers, it firmly cements women’s place as the essential consumer to engage with.
The ‘mumsnet’ generation make around 25,000 posts on the website’s forums every day leaving little doubt that recommendation, advocacy and comment are helping shape brand sentiment and perspective. But are women collectively realising their weight in gold to brands trying to talk to them? With 80 percent of purchase decisions made by women they should do.
It is sometimes easy to forget that men and women can operate very differently and we can lose the basic triggers that enthuse and motivate. Brands need to capture our twenty to thirty-five year old ‘millennial woman’.
A study by Euro RSCG UK, US and France found a distinct move away from the idea of gender equality in that women are far more comfortable embracing traditional values fought against by their mothers, as women strive for a work life balance that enables them to experience everything life has to offer. Furthermore a recent study by Reuters found despite the economic climate and corporate culture, the millennial women’s emphasis is more on self-fulfillment and the ‘joie de vivre’, placing career secondary to this. One can only assume that the post feminist age has meant that the battle of the sexes is now an alien concept – maybe we have ‘Girl Power’ to thank for that.
It’s all too easy to think that a campaign aimed at women simply needs a celebrity face to engage and whilst the tactic can work, the rationale behind it needs to be based on an insight. Our millennial woman sees a ‘celebrity’ as a peer – positioning them like a friend with the ability to share tips, chat and experiences, whether through social media or strategically engineered editorial angles, this can ensure your message holds true.
The women’s focused Levi Jeans ‘Shape what’s to come’ campaign seemed to hit the nail on the head in helping women to be heard. The campaign around utilising female ‘mentors’ has been applauded by bloggers and has created a true ambassador programme that understands that the ‘journey’ rather than the destination is key to unlocking resonance.
As guardians of our clients’ consumer engagement, Abigail Adam’s warning ‘to pay attention to the ladies’ is as valid today as ever. To have any real affinity to women, brands need to show that they ‘represent’ the spirit of a women first and foremost, that campaigns are up to date with how women’s lives operate now… and that maybe men have had it right all along – women are difficult to understand.