Brands and agencies need to connect authentically with the new $28 trillion female market while not alienating men, according to a new whitepaper released by Adshel’s head of marketing, Charlotte Valente (pictured above), today.
Research has shown that brands that accurately represent women in their ads generate significantly more awareness, recall and purchase intent than brands that don’t. However, the communications sector still lacks new business models, metrics and development pathways for women.
Adshel ran two roundtable discussions about gender – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne – with industry leaders* from top media groups, brands and agencies, facilitated by gender intelligence expert Bec Brideson.
Participants all agreed that gender diversity is a strategic imperative today if businesses and agencies want to remain sustainable and successful. Homogenous thinking in communications doesn’t work anymore. Diversity in thinking is key.
Just looking at the ratio of men to women is not is not a deep enough metric, according to Brideson, who measures an organisation’s structure, its employees, the retail experience, aesthetic, and both internal and external messaging to quantify key gender indicators (KGIs).
With these deeper insights, successful diversity transformation is far more likely.
Holden’s attempt to transform from a masculine brand to one that is inclusive and diverse was cited as a great case study.
The company started by transforming the customer experience in its dealerships, making them welcoming to women, as 80 per cent of car buying decisions are made by women, but fewer than half would go into a dealership without a partner. The company changed its business model as the first step in repositioning the brand.
Because business was originally set up and run by men, a traditional male lens dominates business today, with unconscious gender bias by both men and women slowing progress towards gender parity and limiting business potential.
Brideson believes that a change in attitude must be led by CEOs and needs to include valuing soft skills such as empathy more highly than aggressiveness in potential leaders.
Segmenting a product by gender opens up the product to other (new) markets, and will often reveal further sub-segments and nuances within the genders.
For example, the successful launch of the AFLW brought in a new, more diverse audience to watch the games, including women, of course, but migrant families as well.
Brideson warns that market research is often viewed through a male lens, so choice of research partner and methodology is key. Having identified the value of female and male customers to a brand, budgets should follow.
To get an even deeper insight into Adshel’s whitepaper, click here.
* Attendees included Publicis MD Sarah Keith; Mindshare’s Clay Gill; Adshel sales and marketing director David Roddick; Holden’s GM of marketing, Natalie Davey; Carat strategist Rebecca Brody; Ikon managing partner Sharon Cookson and strategist Justin Monaghan; Initiative’s head of strategy, Sergio Brodsky, and strategist Hayley Davies; eHarmony MD Nicole McInnes; Burd co-founder and creative director Kimmie Neidhardt; OMD business director Mandie Gilchrist and content strategist Ella Keddie.