Women and the art of marketing

Written by Geeta Rao | Updated: Sep 8 2005, 06:16am hrs
Trend analyst Faith Popcorn in her book Eve-Olution said succinctly, Women dont buy brands, women join them. Anyone who has worked on communication targeting women will agree that the female response to brandvertising tends to be emotional and sensual benchmarked for results not only she can see but that her various communities respond to. The brand is an extension of her community.

Having talked to women in focus groups in Morrocco, Bangladesh, Cairo, Mumbai, Bangkok, Shanghai and Jakarta, I can say that women in all these countries are united by common responses. A sense of optimism for one and a soaring sense of possibilities as women emerge into their own identities and espouse philosophies in societies that have been and still are male- oriented.

There is need for experimentation, a seeking for a window to the world, a need to be more, see more. Conversely, there is a certain amount of confusion as choices become overwhelming. And there is the reality versus dream, traditional versus modern, inner versus outer paradox that all women face. Yet, what great opportunities for creating advertising that will talk to her innermost hopes dreams and desires.

Optimism, for example, gives us the chance to explore nationalistic, celebratory and winner themes in communication, a world of possi-bilities where women storm male bastions or take on the worlda Sania effect on advertising

Experimentation gives us an opportunity to open new worlds and bring in news from other worlds. This is especially true in fashion and beauty, technology, cars and music. Women like to see what other women in different parts if the world are doing, using, trying. Confusion is a mood that turns inwards to the tried and trusted. Con-sumers look for mentors and friends. It gives a brand a tremendous niche as the still point in a turning world. Pears soap, for example, has carried this mantle for a long time.

There has been psychographic classification of women over the years based on extensive research. The frontiers woman, the traditional modernist, the conservative cautious, the cool gal are just some I took out of a magazine survey. And there are many equally pithy ones that sound terrific but if you dont know what it is that women want, no amount of convenient clustering will give you the answers in communication.

Over and above this it is important to look at the spirit, listen to what she is saying and use it to create communication concepts that will become part of her life. And what she wants is for marketers to recognise.

I want more by doing less;

I want that to be seen as a smart choice;

I want the best, but I want to know I have a bargain;

I want communities;

I want results that I can see and that my circle can see;

I want you to celebrate my spirit, appreciate me;

I want you to pamper me;

I want you to reassure me about my feminity;

I want you to bring romance into my life;

I want you to recognise my sensuousness.

It doesnt always have to be through mass communication. Pampering for example, opens up design and packaging possibilitiesproducts that are softer, bottles that have more sensuous curves, colours that are more feminine and contemporary, promotional gifts chosen with a little more care. The need for romance may not be sexual in nature. It could be the romance of the road, the spirit of adventure and travel, the freedom of going solo. Rather than the latest 30-second commercial, this could be expressed in the script of the latest television serial.

Television soap operas and serials are seeking more creative research as their biggest audiences are women. Film directors have been known to research themes to discover what women want. Everyone is looking to please Her and pander to Her. All we have to do once the research reports come in is interpret them a little more creatively.

The possibilities are endless.

The author is CEO Paradigm Shift and creative advisor Saatchi & Saatchi Advt