It goes without saying that looking back – even over the past few years – it’s truly shocking to see how antiquated advertising to women was and even more unbelievable how long brands got away with it. So, it’s like a breath of fresh air to see women embracing their bodies and oozing confidence, whatever their size or shape. Liberating women from the shackles of the ‘beach body perfect’ stereotype has been a strategic move by savvy brands, in a world where she is dictating the pace of change, and it’s a dynamic that we expect will keep changing.
But surprisingly, whilst some brands demonstrate an acute understanding of women, there are still plenty that don’t bother. It will be these brands that struggle if they fail to connect with their female audience amidst the seismic shifts in consumer behavior.
Even the brands that are taking a more female centric approach will have to live the journey with her to keep up with her expectations.
So, whilst Promoting positive body image has been high on the agenda – with the not so remarkable appreciation that women want to see bodies and faces they can relate to – building a deeper understanding through intellectual and emotional connection will be the key influencers in building longer lasting, loyal relationships with Her in 2017 and beyond. This will be the challenge for many brands.
Discovering the female perspective is actually a game-changing growth strategy in 2017 will see more and more brands move away from traditional models for building insight into female consumerism. Marketing and design to women requires expertise – it is a science that requires a delicate and nuanced approach (and there is a fine line between getting it right and wrong). With only 8% of Creative Directors in the world being female, it is hardly surprising that the planning mechanisms used by many agencies and marketers to accomplish insights have hardly changed since inception.
For brands to leverage engagement with female consumers, they will have to stop relying on insight from ‘big data’ and using ‘generalist approaches,’ but look to modern, innovative planning tools that are more focused on exploring and building deeper and more intuitive insight.
Brands must learn to truly understand a woman’s perspective, the roles she plays and how brands can fit into her life – connecting with her on an emotional, practical, functional and creative platform. Realising that raw emotion is relatable and palatable, especially to women of Generation Z.
It was with this in mind that we created our own unique planning tools to take a more human and female centric approach to achieve desired results. From the assimilation of real-time and more connected insight, through to the interpretation and translation of the same into more meaningful creative solutions, it is a model based on FINDHerTM INTERPRETHerTM CONNECTHerTM.
So against a background of womens’ evolving aspirations for wellness and experiences – and a need for flexibility, recognition and self-development – only the brands sharing an empathy with such values will appeal. And, as more and more women look for experiences to build a picture of who they are and what they represent in the world – a status with a different sort of value – brand packaging is set to play an increasingly pivotal role in the female consumer engagement process.
The next generation of branded products are looking at design as a bigger part of the brand, not just to create connections, but to drive experiences. Smart, intelligent and intuitive packaging that resonates with the female consumers values will have an increased role to play.
And this will not rest solely on the success of brands in–store designs but the significance of packaging design in e-commerce will be massively important too. Whilst consumers are embracing the control they have over purchases made on line and the plethora of delivery options available to them, brands still often fail to impress with their packaging design when the product lands. Communication of brand or brands values are notably poor or non existent, whilst the packaging is often difficult to use or get into – and dispose of. In a recent survey by Macfarlane Packaging, figures indicated that 61% of on-line products had no branding on the pack and 55% did not reflect the value of the brand.
All in all, it is clear that there is considerable opportunity ahead for brands to earn the attention and trust of female consumers buying on-line, through the creation of better structures and more intuitive design. The importance for brands to get packaging design to work both in-store and on line with a clear branding strategy will be paramount. Remembering that “Good packaging protects your product. Great packaging protects your brand.”
So all along the way, female consumers are increasingly looking for brands to engage and entertain them on an intuitive level. Unique packaging structures and designs that not only differentiate on shelf, but also help form and support brand identity, as well as give female consumers an emotional and intellectual incentive to spend time with them, will be the ones that develop longer lasting relationships with Her in 2017!