Women play an important role in the buying process. They make up a majority of overall home and business expenditure and they’re no longer a niche market that you can simply target by adding some pink and red colours to the campaign. Women are now leading businesses, boards and the governments of countries, thanks to the transformation of women’s roles in society and the workplace.
Smart brands are waking up to the rise of female consumer power, but it’s not happening quickly enough. 91% of women still feel misunderstood by advertisers.
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective recent campaigns and what we can learn from them:
Always – #Likeagirl
It would be a crime not to mention this worldwide viral hit. Although not targeting exclusively women, it shows the power of appealing to a female audience as a way of driving video content.
The video achieved a staggering 64 million views from 150 countries. The honest message also resonated with audiences. Prior to watching the film, just 19% of 16-24s had a positive association toward ‘like a girl’. After watching, however, 76% said they no longer saw the phrase negatively.
McDonalds – Pay With Love
While there have been blunders, advertising to women actually gives marketers “permission” to create better advertising. Universally, women respond very strongly to powerful storytelling and emotion in advertising.
One of the best performers recently was the 2016 SuperBowl commercial for McDonalds. The video used techniques to appeal to women, such as building a story through emotion and real people. These surpassed the 2016 crop of ads in terms of impact, driven by sky-high responses by women, without excluding male audiences.
The lesson for marketers is to create ads that work specifically for women, independent of the target audience. Women respond very strongly to powerful storytelling and emotion in advertising.
Sport England – This Girl Can
The campaign was designed to encourage women to exercise without fear of judgement, and is also reflective of the rise in female sports stars in recent years.
The default argument used by advertisers for not only featuring women who are unattainably thin and representative of the narrowest standards of beauty, but then Photoshopping them beyond all recognition, is that “real” women don’t sell.
The video was a huge success, being viewed by 37 million people and increased the number of women engaging in sport by over 1.6 million.
Women could relate to the images and the message of positive self-esteem. Brands looking to increase market share are going to have to look beyond superficial marketing ploys and understand that the women’s market isn’t a niche–it’s a driving force.
Kia Soul – Golf
Companies who think that marketing to women involves designing with pastel colours and pink bows are going to alienate the majority of their markets. Women respond to advertising that uses positive female role models and that portrays them in a strong and powerful way.
The 2010 Kia Soul commercial featured professional golfer Michelle Wie beating the men at their own game at the golf club, looking cool and confident. This was just one of several marketing campaigns, but Kia’s monthly sales rose 44% in 2011 compared to 2010.
There are many lessons that brands and marketers can learn from these campaigns. Their success is not by excluding men or resorting to stereotypes, but by being honest and challenging the status quo. Representing females in the same way you would any male customer will continue to be great for brand appearances, but also sales figures.