Want to win the hearts and minds and open the wallets of women in your targeted demographic?
A good way to start is by avoiding pink packaging in your efforts to woo them. Think the “BIC for Her” line of pens that won global derision when launched in Europe in 2012. Also helpful: avoid tone-deaf messaging. BIC clearly hadn’t learned its lesson three years later, when it launched its ad campaign in “support” of national women’s day in South Africa, which included two lines that dropped like a bombshell: “Look like a girl” and “think like a man.”
When it comes to brands that lead the pack in building bonds with women, BIC—and any number of others that still don’t get it—could learn from Apple and Amazon. These are the top two brands for women, according to MBLM, a New-York-based brand agency. MBLM, with its annual Brand Intimacy Study, measured the intimate bonds that major brands have forged with women.
What Apple and Amazon have in common with each other and with the other top-ten brands (Disney, Jeep, Netflix, Target, Whole Foods, Nintendo, YouTube and Toyota) is a shared ability to leverage emotion (in a positive way) as a means to build intimate and valued relationships with women.
“Clearly, woman are a diverse audience,” said Rina Plapler, a partner at MBLM, discussing the finding. The MBLM study noted that, although there are any number of ways to build bonds with women, among the most significant ways to ensure Brand Intimacy with this market is by leveraging the power of indulgence and ritual.
Through the concept of Brand Intimacy, MBLM looks at the strength of the emotional relationships that people develop with brands. When marketers can gauge the level of consumer intimacy—versus detachment—with their brands, they are better able to understand which levers to pull—like indulgence and ritual—to improve it.
The woman’s market has long been a prize for marketers, but it’s only grown more important as their earning and purchasing power have exploded. In the U.S. alone, women control over 60 percent of all personal wealth, even as 40 percent of them now out-earn their husbands. Their purchasing power now hits anywhere from $5 trillion to $15 trillion a year.
In case you are puzzled at the brands that rank higher in this year’s Brand Intimacy Study for women than for men—specifically Amazon, Jeep, Netflix and Nintendo—think about this statistic, which may help explain it: according to “Don’t Think Pink” author Andrea Learned, women purchase over 50 percent of traditional male products like cars, home improvement products and home electronics.
This is a challenge that brands should take to heart.
Too many brands are getting it wrong with pink-washing and off messages, and mistakes are incredibly amplified in today’s digital/social media environment. Another study last year found 80 percent of women surveyed said they don’t trust brands anymore. They’re less forgiving, they are abandoning brands at a greater rate than ever, and once they are gone, they are hard—if not impossible—to get back.
That’s why it’s important for marketers targeting women to study how the Apples, Amazons and Nintendos have successfully to built the most intimate bonds with this market.
Maybe it’s not too late to identify the right levers and pull them too.