Brand Positioning for Marketing to Women – Part 4

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Posted Jun 07, 2012
Susan Gunelius

Time to learn tips to market to women effectively in Part 4 of the Brand Positioning for Marketing to Women series. If you missed Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3 of the series, follow the preceding links to catch up. There you'll learn all the basics about gender branding and why marketing your brand to women the right way is critical to its success, regardless of your brand's category or industry.

gender branding

How do you market your brand to women so they'll respond the way you want them to? Few brands are getting it right. Female consumers have evolved just as brands have transformed over the years. Yet many companies still market to women using the same tired tactics and patterns that were used decades ago.

With that in mind, following are several simple things to keep in mind as you attempt to market your brand to women. These do's and don'ts can help you intrigue female consumers rather than alienate them.

Avoid Stereotypes and Clichés

women consumers cliche

One of the quickest ways to turn off a female audience is to rely on stereotypes and clichés to sell your branded products and services. Remember the Hoover example from Part 1 of this survey? Hoover was a brand that traditionally relied on images of women in the antiquated role of spending her days cleaning the house while the rest of the family works and goes to school. This was a stereotype that was actually hurting the brand, so Hoover removed the stereotypically gender-based imagery from its ads. You should do the same for your brand.

Don't Condescend

Condescension is a brand killer when it comes to the female consumer audience. Stereotypes and clichés can be perceived as condescending, but any message or experience that addresses women as inferior to men in any way is likely to fail. Remember, what matters is not the message you intend to deliver but rather how that message is perceived by female consumers.

Be Authentic

Remember the NuvaRing commercials discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series? One of the reasons these ads were so poorly received by the female audience was because they were completely inauthentic. The conversations between the actresses weren't even slightly plausible, and the situations characters were in were laughable. Female consumers expect authenticity, so deliver it.

Create Opportunities for Engagement

Look for ways to build relationships with female consumers and allow them to build relationships with each other. Women are tough customers, and they like to talk about brands, products, and services. The social web provides a perfect place for you to encourage and join those conversations. Most importantly, listen to what women are saying in these conversations.

Don't Just Address How (Practical Messages) -- Communicate Why (Emotional Messages)

As you learned in Part 3 of this series, women are capable of instantly thinking beyond linear concepts. They make associations that give them the ability to see a bigger picture than linear thinkers who want to connect the dots and find a simple solution. Women are looking for more, and companies need to show women not just how their brands can help by providing solutions but also why those brands are the right ones to provide those solutions.

As Derrick Daye explained on Branding Strategy Insider back in 2010, "Recognize that women have the ability to perceive more than the metric of a product attribute or an instance in time. They appreciate the underlying pattern (idea) that gives rise to the fleeting moment."

Know Your Audience

Within the female consumer audience are diverse segments of consumers. Labeling an audience as female and delivering the same brand messages and experiences to every female consumer is a mistake. For example, generational differences within the female consumer audience can greatly affect the messages you deliver to segments of the female audience. One size does not fit all.

Stay tuned for Part 5 of the Brand Positioning for Marketing to Women series where you'll learn about conducting research to develop more effective branding initiatives that appeal to the powerful female consumer audience. If you missed previous parts of the series, follow the links below to read them now:

Image: Richard Dunstan, James Vaughan

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