Nice Try, but Not Quite Transparent


Nice Try, but Not Quite Transparent

There are some brands that are clearly making an effort to connect with their female customers, but are still falling short of transparency. Their marketing teams may have skipped a few elements in their research or not fully examined their brand before churning out a women-focused ad. Following is a checklist of some key elements to keep you in touch with reality (and in authentic relationships with women) while you develop your brand's transparent campaign:

Avoid going overboard. Lisa Finn, editor of EPM Communications' Marketing to Women newsletter, observed that the Yoplait yogurt's "girlfriend series" ads could come across as artificial rather than charming. [14] She noted, " [W]ho sits around trading increasingly unlikely comparisons for yogurt? There's something about putting a product so center-stage in a casual conversation that strikes a false note." If you tune into how your customers are really talking about your product, you won't create drama where it doesn't exist.

Avoid insincerity. It may seem fun and hip, but the "you go girl" tone can seem disingenuous these days when used for the wrong reasons. Focus on things that are important to women, not on trendy phrases or looks. Appealing to women's interest in healthier alternatives (like salads at Wendy's) or to their sense of humor (like the Subway sandwich commercials that include family laughs) will form a much more enduring connection.

Avoid sappiness. While it may be more realistic showing women in groups in ads, as opposed to standing around with their husbands, avoid the tendency to over-sentimentalize the situations. Done poorly, sappy ads can make everyone, female or male, roll their eyes ”and that feeling may well stick with them when they come across your brand in the store aisle. Our advice: Get input from women in the street before you choose the final photos for your campaigns .

Avoid sexism. Your staff and your marketing team do not need to be all female, so don't make that mistake in your ads or promotions. First, having only women everywhere doesn't reflect the reality of the world or of your company and its consumers, and so it would come off as inauthentic in your marketing. Second, the fresh and creative thinking your brand needs to be relevant with women must be gender neutral. The final bonus is that the men on your marketing-to-women team and in the ranks of your customer service personnel will serve as the ever-important male-turnoff radar for any campaign you develop.

Avoid embellishments. Reaching women effectively is all about engaging in an honest and direct dialogue with them. It should be easy for women to get your point, without extras or exaggerations. If a product is purposely designed to improve a woman 's health, for example, women shouldn't have to wonder whether it is a beauty product because the packaging emphasizes those features.

Avoid "noise." Be different and be first, and women will notice. There's no need to be the loudest in order to be heard in a transparent campaign. In fact, loudness ”in color , design, interactivity and hit-you-over-the-head copy ”can turn women off completely.

If we used the colloquial phrase "keep it real" to describe the one general guideline for transparently reaching women, we'd probably be accused of oversimplifying or being trite. Instead, we encourage you to revisit the idea of seeing your brand through a woman's perspective. How does she see you, hear your ads, absorb your television spots or take in your sponsorship of events?

[14] Lisa Finn, editor, "Is Transparency the best policy?" Marketing to Women newsletter (EPM Communications, Inc.), August 2003, http://www.epmcom.com.