THE BLOG

The Feminine Plural

04/30/2015 11:59 am ET | Updated Jun 30, 2015

Today's women have little in common with the figure of the typical housewife who dominated the 80s. Yet, marketers seem to be struggling to adapt their discourse to these changes and translate this evolution into relevant and engaging communication that really speaks to women.

In fact, what really matters for brands is the ability to reinvent models of femininity; rather than rehashing these old archetypes in a contemporary context, they must offer a vision of femininity that goes beyond sexualized clichés built around notions of gender.

Top Tips to Talk to Women in 2015
Discover how brands can win with women: by embracing a multifaceted femininity, by using humor or even by playing with sexists clichés.

1. Shopping Pinterest
Approximately 85 percent of Pinterest users are female and according to Comscore, they are using the platform to shop: "Women on Pinterest are 30 percent more likely to shop or buy online than the average woman, and Pinterest users spend nearly two times the norm". Promoted Pins were launched in January, so brands can now sponsor posts to get content in front of the eyeballs of more women. Instagram is lagging behind e-commerce advances, but add-ons such as "Like to Buy" are helping to facilitate purchases.

2. Female Peer Influence
The power of Michelle Phan lies in her influence on women. She is a trusted peer that young females look to for product recommendations and inspiration. Lancôme recognized this and recruited her as their official video make-up artist. Phan's latest venture is Ipsy -- a beauty subscription to rival Birch Box. Word-of-mouth advertising is said to be the most influential (84 percent trust vs 62 percent for TV), and bloggers are now widely recruited by brands to feature products in their content for a more authentic advertising experience.

3. Generations Of Beauty
Brands in the beauty category are starting to realize that one message doesn't fit all. Women over 55 want products that overtly address wrinkles, while 18-39 and 20-54 year-olds prefer products that "maintain your looks" and mention "youth". L'Oréal is starting to tailor messaging in order to unlock growth in a category that is valued at $33.3 billion. Their latest ad starring Helen Mirren speaks to older women and directly addresses their concerns about ageing.

4. Causes Women Care About
A recent study from Nielsen reveals that 55 percent of respondents would pay extra for products and services from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. An important distinction between men and women are the causes they care about. Women support human-oriented causes such as disease and maternal health, while men are more drawn to small business support, education and technology. U.S. jewelry designer Kendra Scott is an example of someone who has consistently used her brand to support charities, resulting in a loyal customer base that values this commitment.

5. Industries Still Ignoring Women
Many brands still target stereotypes: automotive brands often think their primary target is men, but women buy more than half of all new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80 percent of all car purchases. At Added Value, we have worked to help classic "male" brands market to women. We opened Diageo's eyes to what women really want by creating a set of actionable marketing principles across their brands, with the result that targeting women within their portfolio has now become a key strategic priority.

6. Record Numbers Buying Online In Indonesia
Women in Indonesia are said to control 65 percent of purchase decisions, and now that approximately 40 million women are now online, this is a huge opportunity for brands. Social media is their preferred online channel for shopping (87 percent of respondents) and 74 percent are more influenced by friends in social media and community platforms when it comes to purchase decisions. The beauty category in particular is lucrative -- worth $2.2 billion -- but it is a saturated market with approximately 10,000 brands.

7. The Story Of The Modern Female
The latest short film from Chanel stars supermodel Gisele Bündchen and aims to make the No.5 perfume relevant to a new generation of women. The film may have left some people confused (why did she take so long to open the letter?), but in the fashion world, it was celebrated for its fresh narrative. Gisele is depicted as a modern woman - working to balance her career, husband and children - while also embodying the spirit of Coco Chanel. A more modern perspective of women presented in a highly stylish way.

8. Listening and connecting to women
According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, the worldwide consumer spending power of women is $20 trillion, and in the US, their annual spend is over half of the US GDP ($7 trillion). Cutting through the messages they are bombarded with takes a keen understanding of the consumer. Amy Errett, founder of hair color company Madison Reed, says that talking directly to female consumers and listening in return is key to helping them connect with the brand in a relevant way.