The title of this post comes from an article I read yesterday in the Huffington Post which, since we’re on the subject of women, happens to be run by Arianna Huffington, founder. (As a side note, reports indicate that the news blog is now worth more than some traditional newspaper companies. But that, my friends, is a discussion for another day!). This particular article, written by Cecile Richard’s, lauds Obama’s selection of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and the fact that she will champion women’s health worldwide. As I’m sure most of you are aware, this stems back from her stay in the White House (back in the early 90’s), during which time she was selected by her husband to head and champion a universal health care program for the US. The article continues:
“Senator Clinton understands that women’s quality of life directly affects the major issues confronting the globe: national security, environmental sustainability, and global poverty.”
Muhammad Yunus figured this out decades ago when he opened the Grameen Bank. In his book “Banker to the Poor”, he said, “If the goals of economic development include improving the general standard of living, reducing poverty, creating dignified employment opportunities and reducing inequality, then it is natural to work through women.” I use this as part of my signature in every email I send because I feel it’s important to let everyone know that it should be natural to work through and with women.
Ultimately, this all leads me to the following question: when will women truly be recognized as the integral part of society that they are? When will they be seen as a key target group filled with individuals who are leaders, caretakers for their families and friends, heads of businesses and corporations, key decision makers in most households, controllers of the spending of .80 of every dollar…and the list goes on. Businesses should move beyond focusing on better lighting and photos in their print collateral to directing their focus toward the individuals and personas that make up this key target market; a target market that is involved in the purchase of almost every product and service offering available.
From my perspective, recognition should be given to all successful and accomplished women who are finding ways to become visible, active role models for everyone. Condoleezza Rice was the first African American Woman Secretary of State (second woman after Madeline Albright). But because she focused on the mandate of her administration and not women’s issues, she didn’t appear to be carrying the same “women’s rights” torch. I am a proud Democrat, but I believe we should celebrate everyone who takes the opportunity to be first—leading by her own persona and individuality to push the next generation forward.
That being said, there has been a renewed awareness in many marketing and advertising trade publications (as well as major news papers over the last couple of years) of the importance of addressing how a company’s products and services must focus on marketing to, communicating with, and fully engaging women. Everyone is dipping their feet into this most important demographic pool. But no one has really expressed the thought that this important group of individuals does not need special treatment. What they do need is to be respected, included, engaged and viewed as vital participants in all the offerings that companies are looking to promote. Best Buy is leading the way with their WOLVES initiatives that encourage and support women within the company to share and partner with the company. This program helps to ensure that women have a place in management, and are considered in regards to store design, how sales people sell and how products and services are presented.
I myself partner with a great woman who happens to be the opposite of me in almost every way. We own and run a marketing/communications firm that primarily focuses on women, but have proudly included some key male members on our team. However, we chose a female-centric angle for our company so that we could use our unique perspective to speak directly to women. Currently in Canada, there are very few women run and owned marketing/communications agencies and even fewer firms with the technological expertise that we wield. BUT the most important thing for us is that we are passionate about creating intelligent, respectful brand strategy that honors this extremely varied and most important target market, while recognizing the modern person and the modern family.
I guess the moral of this post, and the real key for me, is that women are the modern people and family. Speak to them and you will surely be speaking to everyone they’re connected to. And it is through the power of women and their desire to be engaged that you will develop more than just customers—you will develop a fervent group of brand evangelists that will lead you into the 21st century.
Don’t talk at women—engage them!
Click here to read the Huffington Post Article.
PS. Be sure to follow our partner’s tweets on twitter @ yyzsportsmedia!