Multi-Minding Women are Co-Brand Managers11 years, 5 months ago
The next Women’s Liberation Movement is here, says Kelley Murray Skoloda, only this time marketers need to be mindful of the growing influence that communications-savvy, juggling-adept females are having on brands.
On a recent Sunday, I was walking with my family when a car pulled up beside us. I recognized a woman I went to high school with and she rolled down her window.
“I read about your book in the newspaper,” she said. “Multi-minding, that’s me! Finally, someone understands me.”
It’s time for public relations professionals and marketers to understand women, too.
Buying power of women
Women, the primary buyers for 85% of most goods and services, are busy. So busy that they have bypassed multi-tasking and are now multi-minding, or mentally juggling the many dimensions of their robust lives, from personal to professional to community. That means it’s more challenging than ever for marketers and communicators to reach this lucrative audience.
With everything on the multi-minding woman’s mind, you would think she already has enough to keep her busy. In the very-near future though, I predict female consumers will actually take on an increasing role with brands and businesses as ‘co-brand managers.’
Based on interviews for my recent book, Too Busy to Shop, research conducted in the U.S. and in Europe, and my observations and conversations with many women, I think women will be co-managing brands along with the individuals who have the official titles of brand manager, small business owner or marketing director. In fact, they already are, no matter if we like it or not.
Female consumers taking control
It’s well known that on average, people are more connected and more in control of communications than they have ever been at any other time in history. According to research conducted for BlogHer, 42 million women in the U.S. alone are now blogging. Technology is enabling super-connectivity. And, research done by Ketchum shows that a woman’s ‘friends and family’ – online and offline – are THE most credible source when making a purchase decision across all of the countries included in the research.
With the press of a button, one person can start a worldwide sea of influence and change in a positive or negative direction. Brand fans can quickly and easily share their good feelings, but detractors and bad experiences also can be posted immediately and travel like wildfire, regardless of geographic borders.
Those voices are more accessible and influential than ever before, and they expect us to listen. Women are proactively taking control of brands and businesses that mean something to them. That phenomenon inherently implies that brand managers and business owners are losing a significant degree of control. But it also means relationships with consumers are more important than ever.
Just like relationships in real life take time to build, it also takes time and effort to build a trusting relationship with consumers. This is good news for public relations, a marketing discipline that has been built upon and continues to evolve as a primary vehicle for relationship development, both online and offline.
Marketers losing control
Based on the comments from experts and real women, not only is losing some control of your brand good, but it’s also imperative if your brand or business is to succeed in the future. Consumer voices and participation can add insights to product development, marketing and product advocacy.
Relinquishing control to consumers may not be an easy decision. Choosing how to turn over that control must be in line with brand essence or corporate culture. Given that consumers, especially women, say family and friends are the most trusted source of information, giving up some control should at least be considered.
Three Steps to Get Women Involved
1. LISTEN to women – online and offline
2. ASK how female consumers would like to be engaged by the brand
3. AUGMENT your plans on an ongoing basis to incorporate feedback
Women today have the tools and know-how to get what they want, even if it currently is not on the market. If marketers are not listening to them, they will go elsewhere and not necessarily to the traditional competitor. They have the ability, if not engaged in your brand, to do it themselves.
Millions of them will do it themselves, and they will erode the market share of many products in the form of a million little razor cuts. Brands and businesses will lose if they are not engaging women and inviting their control now.
Kelley Murray Skoloda is a Partner/Director of the Global Brand Marketing Practice at Ketchum and author of Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women available atmail the author
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