Opinion

The six things women want from brands in 2017 – and it’s not just pink

Instead of simply trying to "milk the pink dollar", Mia Freedman argues brands need to do more to get their hands on women's money. In this guest post for International Women's Day, the founder of the Mamamia Women's Network reveals what women really want from brands in 2017.

In boardrooms around the country – and indeed the world – right now, there are groups of people trying to work out how to milk the pink dollar. How can we get our hands on women’s money, they wonder? As we all know, women are responsible for around 85% of household spending and not just on cereal, lipstick and cleaning products. Women are the drivers of most big-ticket purchasing decisions in any household: cars, financial services, telcos, travel, insurance…. hell, we’re even big buyers of men’s underwear and fragrance.

Women are also significantly more influential when it comes to brand advocacy.

As active communicators on social media and IRL (‘in real life’ for old people), women are the ones who can amplify your brand for better or worse. And usually, they do it for better; women are far more inclined to share a positive brand experience or opinion than a negative one.

So how do you make sure you’re one of the brands women are embracing, engaging with and telling their friends about?

Paint it pink. If you have a product – anything from a pen to a box of cereal – just paint it pink and women will fall over their strappy sandals to buy it.

For a long time, this was the essence of the approach taken by countless creatives and marketers.

But in 2017 that simply won’t cut it anymore. Women are far smarter than that and we are leaning in to the brands who are speaking to us more meaningfully, brands who ‘get’ us.

At Mamamia, we’ve noted with interest the latest push by many big brands and companies towards women. ‘What took you so long?’, is all we can say. We’ve been doing this for 10 years now and we’ve learned more than anyone about how to produce branded creative that engages – not alienates – women.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, let me share what we know for sure and some examples of great creative that resonates with women.

THE 6 THINGS WOMEN WANT BRANDS TO DO:

1. Change as she changes

Over the ten years we have been engaging with Australian women, Mamamia’s tone and editorial approach has changed and adapted significantly because women have changed. The core purpose of our business is fixed, but we evolve as quickly and constantly as women do in terms of our tone, approach to content and editorial mix. For example, there have been past phases where we’ve had more politics in the mix, phases where we’ve been more celebrity-based and then there’s now. Without giving away our editorial secret sauce, our current mix and approach is different again in 2017 and reaping strong results because, as always, we’ve indexed our content to the mood, needs and wants of women by understanding the always shifting female zeitgeist.

ARIEL WASHING POWDER – INDIA

2. Women to women; a trusted environment is key

Behind every great woman is…. a whole lot of other women. Influence is built on these connected relationships we have with each other, and a desire to help and share with the women closest to us. The best piece of feedback we can get from our audience, is that our audience count Mamamia – our brand and platforms – as a friend. When you can build credibility and trust through friendship with a woman, then your ability to influence and engage her increases exponentially. This is how women build communities. Tap into those communities. Go where she is, don’t expect her to come to you.

INTEL

3. Tell stories that genuinely resonate

Content is key when trying to connect with women. This may seem obvious but many brands underestimate the value of story-telling in forging emotional connections. This campaign by IKEA is a brilliant example of that.

IKEA

DAIRY AUSTRALIA – LEGENDAIRY

MAURICE BLACKBURN – FIGHTING FOR FAIR

4. Embrace diversity

We are not all married or straight or white or mothers or size zero or able-bodied or 22 years old. If that’s how you always portray us we will feel alienated. Diversity of content is important too. We’re not all interested in cooking or fashion or gossip or parenting. And those of us who are? It’s not all we’re interested in.

TARGET

5. Align with her values

Women trust brands that align with her values, whatever they may be. From social justice to gender equality, family, health and wellness, the rights of animals or children, if your brand stands for something, tell her. This is how emotional bonds between women and brands are forged.

ALWAYS TAMPONS

DOVE REAL BEAUTY

6. Be always on

This is the most crucial one. The importance of being where she is cannot be overstated – and women are everywhere, all the time. She is consuming media and advertising on her terms 24/7 and the traditional short-burst approach won’t cut it anymore. There’s nothing more compelling for a busy woman (the only kind) than an always-present, trusted brand that gets her. Building authentic brand loyalty happens with consistency and over time. Quality is the critical foundation and quantity over time seals the deal – this is a crucial factor in building unsolicited brand love and advocacy.

Happily, the examples I’ve highlighted above and below are just a few examples from the widest pool of great ads and brand marketing we’ve ever seen. Slowly but surely, brands are tapping into the fact that women will amplify good content; content that pushes their ‘share’ buttons.

Which is why women are truly your dream audience. Happy IWD.

Extra examples worth celebrating…

SAMSUNG – NETBALL AUSTRALIA

BUNNINGS:

FOXTEL – LIFESTYLE

OPEN COLLEGES

NIKE

BERLEI

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