[Part 1] How are brands celebrating International Women’s Day? Employee advocacy and brand-free promotions
As brands around the world are promoting this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), our analysts take a look at how brands in the financial sector and beyond have been supporting women in the workforce via campaigns for positive change.
In this three-part series, we discuss stand-out examples of moving beyond the expected IWD initiatives, as well as actions brands should consider in order to be considered true change-makers.
Women’s History Month has evolved from a celebration of female trailblazers to an opportunity for brands to drum up positive engagement. We’ve come to expect brands to integrate the celebration into their social media content calendar by showcasing female-led teams or touting workplace awards for gender inclusivity. Chase and State Farm used Instagram to feature comments from employees about being a woman in the workforce or how they are paving the way for others.
International Women’s Day 2019 came with all of the marketing you’d expect from brands wanting to be part of the conversation. Yet, as we look at how the portrayals of women in ads have evolved, the shift is less about representation and more about ownership and empowerment. That is what made Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad so powerful. It doesn’t simply call out gender bias, it takes ownership of the very adjectives used to belittle women. That ownership is empowering. It resonates with consumers.
What We Think
Employee advocacy doesn’t have to be limited to a seasonal social post. The Mom Project connects mothers with desirable job opportunities where they won’t be penalized for their parenting obligations. Just over one-third of American mothers don’t return to work after having a baby, but the economic benefits of paid leave and flexible working arrangements are significant. These policies improve productivity, boost employee morale, and make it easier for businesses to retain skilled workers, laying the groundwork for brand ambassadors that can benefit the company year-round.
Additionally, we’re increasingly seeing brands partner with organizations working to lift up female communities.
- The Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities initiative, launched by Melinda Gates, will focus on increasing the number of women working in tech in three cities over the next five years.
- The Female Founder Collective (in partnership with She’s Next, Empowered by Visa) is a network of businesses led by women, supporting women. The mission is to enable and empower female owned and led businesses to positively impact communities, both socially and economically.
In recent news, The Girl Scouts called on companies to take the “Fair Play, Equal Pay pledge,” a new gender parity initiative that will engage businesses to take action now to help build a more equitable future for girls. Industry leaders and major corporate partners, including Accenture, Ernst & Young, and SAP, have already committed to the initiative to increase female leadership and equal pay in their organizations by 2030.
The reality is, representation is great, but inclusion is better and society still has a way to go. Companies should celebrate and empower women year-round, not just one day out of the year. Support doesn’t have to come in just the form of employee advocacy or branded campaign–goodwill doesn’t go unnoticed.
Make sure to stay tuned for part two and part three, coming later this week!