SANTIAGO — In Chile, 94% of women do not identify with advertising directed at them: this is what market research firm Adimark showed in a study published in August 2018. That means brands are failing to connect with their target gender in the context of modern-day reality.

Very few firms understand that a brand with a clear purpose works better than a firm with only goals of profit. They find it difficult to see the brand as a business in itself. For that reason many marketing decisions are taken with a short-term perspective. There is no time to change the way things are done, or understand that it is not interactions, but shared values, that change relations. Which means no time is given to redefining the way you truly connect with women through advertising.

A woman walks by a street advertisement — Photo: Timon Studler

Considering the above, one inevitably looks at the United States as a reference in this area. Jim Stengel, formerly head of global marketing for P&G (Procter and Gamble), believes people don't buy what you do, but the reason why you do it. Female buyers thus no longer establish ties with a firm's products or services, but with the values and vocation it projects. Those values are what advertising ultimately expresses, both in form and content.

Always, P&G's sanitary towels brand, defined a cause or mission, going beyond a campaign to boost sales: it encouraged girls worldwide to accept failure as fuel to generate confidence and move forward. P&G's #LikeAGirl campaign is based on the fact that 50% of girls during puberty report being paralyzed by fear of failure, while 80% feel that society's pressure enhances their fear of failure and prevents them from trying new things. Failure frightens women too much.

People don't buy what you do, but the reason you do it

The success of this branding strategy was in managing to connect with women at the deepest level, far beyond one product.

Another great example is Dove, whose brand proposal also goes beyond selling personal hygiene products. Dove focuses its branding work on helping boost women's self-esteem. In recent years it has also connected with girls through the #SpeakBeautiful movement, which encourages women to use social networks to say positive things about themselves and their peers.

Microsoft, one of the world's most relevant tech brands, has also jumped on board. In 2016, on International Women's Day, the company paid homage to great female inventors. How? Through a video, in which girls were asked if they knew of great male inventors. They all named more than one, but when asked about great female inventors, they knew of none. School, they said, only taught them about male inventors. This was Microsoft's way of showing that we live in a male-dominated world, though it also presented women behind a series of inventions that have, unbeknown to millions, changed the world.

If 94% of women do not identify with the advertising that targets them, it is simply because there is no purpose behind it.


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