Marketing to women? Avoid these visual mistakes
Friday, January 29, 2016
Posted by: Barbara Francella
Mistake 1: Overplaying feminine stereotypes.
By Bridget Brennan
Visual communication has risen in parallel with women’s
economic power, which means it's a smart idea to conduct a review of your
marketing images to make sure they’re still relevant.
Related: 3 ways to keep your
brand relevant with women consumers
In our work at Female Factor, we help businesses optimize
their marketing initiatives with insights from women consumers. Here are four
common mistakes to avoid:
Overplaying feminine stereotypes. Approach with caution images like red
stilettos (especially those without anyone wearing them and especially when
paired with two clinking glasses of wine) and pink as the primary accent color
for gender-neutral products, unless your business is raising money for breast
cancer causes and research.
Mistake 2: Depicting
women as passive observers. Men are depicted as
"agents of action" in marketing more often than women. Images of
women who are merely observing other people do things feel out of touch in a
society where mothers with children under 18 are the sole or primary
breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households.
Mistake 3: Depicting
women exclusively in couples or family situations. With Millennials getting
married later than any previous generation, and record numbers of childless
women in the U.S., it's important to show a variety of household situations in
your imagery, and not only couples and families. In the right categories,
depictions of mixed-gender groups can be particularly effective, especially for
Mistake 4: Leaving
women out of the picture entirely. One lingering mistake for many
industries, even today, is leaving women out of visuals entirely. Recently I
was at a rental car facility that was filled with women as both customers and
employees, yet every poster in the building showcased men — and only men— renting cars. If the success of your business depends on women
consumers (and since women drive between 70-80 percent of consumer spending,
there’s a good chance it does), it makes sense to feature them in branded
visuals. Common sense? Yes. Common practice? No. The good news is, there’s a
simple fix: Take an inventory of your images to determine if they are inclusive
and relevant. When they're not, you reduce your opportunity to create an
emotional connection, and may alienate the very people you want to attract.
Bridget Brennan is CEO of consulting firm Female Factor, and one of
the world’s leading authorities on marketing and selling to women. She is the
author of "Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most
Powerful Consumers," which was called "essential reading" by the
Wall Street Journal. In addition to researching women's purchasing patterns,
she speaks globally on the subject of women's consumer spending and is a
blogger for Forbes where
this blog first appeared. You can follow Bridget on Twitter via @BridgetBrennan.
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