Brands must get beyond the subordinate housewife and fashion-less man

Business womanby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

Most smart marketers realize that women make (or influence) 80% of all purchase decisions across a wide range of categories from sophisticated financial products to electronics to cars. Unfortunately, most brands are still stuck in the past. It’s not they ignore women. In fact, many are pouring millions of dollars into marketing and advertising to reach women. What is wrong is they are still stereotyping women in their creative approach. The same goes for men. Many brands are still portraying the “boomer” male as clueless and incompetent. Conversely, millennial males are more like their women counter parts.

Women’s societal roles are more diverse than ever before. They are now almost 50% of the American work force. Their median age of first marriages has steadily risen. They take on more of an authority role, not just a “product user”. Women are no longer the stereotype of a dependent, stay-at-home subordinate housewife. They are in the office, on the plant floor and owning businesses. Yes, they still do dominate decision-making and wield substantial influence on purchases, but not from the home. Brands that still portray women as they “used to be” in their marketing are still missing the point. Dozens of studies have searched for a “rethink” by brands on women.

Results are not that promising:

• Three times more likely than men to be depicted as a product user as opposed to an authority figure

• Four times more likely to be shown in a dependent role

• 3.5 times more likely to be in a domestic environment rather than a work environment

 Millennial men have also changed the stereotype from their Boomer counterparts.

• Younger men increasingly shape their identity through shopping

• Brands that capture their perception of cool, what’s important and what their lives really look like, capture their loyalty and dollars

• Number of men that self-identify as fashionable and trendy: Millennials – 38%; Boomers – 16%

• Willing to pay more for brands that reflect their personal style: Millennials – 26%; Boomers – 13%

The lesson here is brands must reflect what is happening in the real world and not just go by outdated stereotypes or depend on “that’s what always worked before”. Today’s society is much more fluid and defined roles are becoming less commonplace.


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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