Bolder Thinking Blog

[Part 3] How are brands celebrating International Women’s Day? Improving consumer relationships and media strategy

March 6th, 2020 | Comperemedia News

In the conclusion of our three-part series on 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.

Improving consumer relationships

So much of the consumer relationship depends on the factors with which brands judge consumers. How bias is written into those judgements is becoming ever more important—as is how brands respond to accusations of unfairness.

For Apple, the response recently was silence. After some applicants noticed the Apple Card was offering lower lines of credit to women than men, Apple publicly said nothing, while Goldman Sachs tweeted out a letter stating, “We have not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender.” Still, per Comperemedia analysis of Infegy data, 76% of Twitter Apple Card mentions were negative in Nov. (up from 60% in Oct.), with “discrimination” one of the most frequent words.

Earlier in 2019, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said his company won’t take a company public if it lacks at least “one diverse board candidate, with a focus on women.” “Diverse,” however, is a wiggly word.

Media Strategy

While leveraging owned social channels is a mainstay for brands for International Women’s Month engagements, many brands, like TD Bank and Wells Fargo, utilized the targeting and storytelling capabilities of Facebook to feature women leaders within the company as well as provide appreciation for all women customers. Others strayed from the typical appreciation narrative to financially boost women, from PayPal offering discounts on women-owned brands to help drive more sales, to Lyft covering the rides to women-owned businesses. E-Trade invested the most in Women’s Month campaigns ($31K) in order to advertise its discussion on how more women can get started in investing.

While these endeavors are promising, we’d like to see more targeted and bottom-funnel approaches to help benefit the lives of women customers on paid media channels. While PayPal’s campaign was a beneficial start, competitors need to go beyond featuring specific women-led companies in an ad in order to help spark more interest and drive more sales. With E-Trade questioning the status-quo in 2019, we’d like to see those solutions offered in their ads for 2020 to inspire more women to get on board with investing. Brands that offer specific solutions to help boost women will be seen as the marketing allies for 2020.

What We Think

As Mintel Trend ‘Diversity Goes Public’ notes, “The real change lies in changing the internal and external business practices themselves; many consumers and employees alike can see through PR plays that seek to appease their values at a minimal surface level.” Brands need to go deeper and clearer. When they do, consumers will notice–though likely not this year, when we expect to see more pushes for “diversity” despite homogeneous company leadership.

In line with this year’s theme for women’s history month, brands can use their organizational ecosystem and owned media to become a powerful platform for bold social-political changes. Beyond the creative ads, real impact can happen through creative partnerships and breaking stereotypes. This is a great time to lead by example, with authenticity and transparency!

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