These days, there seem to be a lot of celebratory ‘days’.
The idea of branding a date and asking people to get involved seems to have hit fever pitch, with many companies annualising their participation of what was once a less-branded affair.
For instance, Australia Day is now a really big deal for brands, whereas 20 years ago it was treated like just another day off. Is it patriotism and a sense of pride for a great country? Or has it been embraced by brands and become completely commercialised? Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day appears to be a no-brainer of commercial forces at work, fuelling consumers to declare their love and remind their reptilian brains that to survive it, they literally must buy it. Hearts are at full bulge from every brand seeking to cash in.
In fact the commercialisation can sometimes go too far, as was the case of Woolworth’s 2015 Anzac Day campaign, which was left exposed and embarrassed after taking a battering on social media. Vocal users had accused the supermarket giant of exploiting Gallipoli for commercial gain by using a hybrid of the commemorative day’s motto with their own advertising positioning line.
‘Days’ have found a social currency and if nothing else, they help the barren marketer create a reason to connect to society. This smacks of cleverness if it is used well with some relevance, but opportunistic and flagrant desperation if a brand has no raison d’etre with the intended meaning and celebration of the day. At best, it is ‘borrowed interest’ and might fool consumers for a time.
International Women’s Day (IWD) will be celebrated on March 8, 2016. This century has been dubbed the ‘century of women’ because finally, the economic strength of females has arrived. They have gone from survival, to independence, to influence. In fact, women now account for $28 of the $35 trillion consumer economy.
So how will smart companies and clever marketers use International Women’s Day to their advantage? To be truly genuine, one might suggest not having a day at all, but businesses can make it an opportunity to commit to ongoing bias alerts and changing their business culture year-round.
Dedicating your resources, structure and time internally to help your brand understand how it can better service women and create better relationships with them would be a great start. Using this knowledge and internal growth to understand how businesses can ensure their brands truly provide value in women’s lives would be the perfect end goal.
With IWD 2016 just around the corner, now is the ideal time to take these FIVE actions to your business and leverage the deeper connection between your brand and women, and foster their long lasting loyalty.
1 | Create an internal audit
What bias exists in your company? Do you champion women and does diversity exist? Is the corporate language too masculine? Are there women on your board?
Studies from McKinsey prove that companies who have true diversity enjoy greater profits and financial gains. This IWD’s focus is on making a #pledgeforparity and driving awareness about gender bias. What will you do to join in?
2 | Find out what you do that bugs her - and fix it
There will be something. But if you don’t ask the question, you’ll never know how to fix it. And when you fix it, the rewards can be enormous. No, don’t use your regular research. Utilise research that digs deeper and doesn’t lead the witness. There may just be a single thing standing between you and her wallet, so ask better questions and listen to the hard answers.
3 | Help women find time
average mother gets just 17 minutes to herself each day and brands that understand the time-poor woman will be rewarded. Find any way to help their lives click into place and women will thank you by repeating the purchase -- remembering the ease of their experience will lead them to reward it with their loyal dollars.The
4 | Tell her you get it
Make it a mission statement and call it out as a priority to deliver a better brand. Women love to know that they matter to you, and having that in your company’s pipeline means understanding that there is a need for constant and continuous betterment. But you can’t just talk it; you have to walk it too.
5 | We-not-me attitude
Women thrive on community and connection. If you really want to acknowledge IWD, tell your female fans that you’ll be starting a lifelong support to a children’s or women’s charity. Show them that you want to help improve the world by using your business might or corporate clout for good.
The future of women has arrived and the tipping point is tipping. Businesses that embrace the power of women not just on International Women’s Day, but every day, will flourish well beyond these 24 hours of celebration. The benefits of doing so will transform your business and future proof you in times of exponential change for women.
Bec Brideson is a former Creative Director with over 20+ years in advertising. She has been Director of her own agency Venus Comms, which specialises in marketing-to-women, for over ten years and has recently started coaching brands and agencies directly on how to leverage the growing female economy.