Engine revealed this week that women feel brands do not accurately represent them. To remedy this, the agency group, which includes MHP Communications, has come up with eight top tips for communicating to the “21st Century woman”.
Engine’s research includes input from 1000 UK women and shows that 90% say brands need to take more responsibility for how women are portrayed in the media.
Here are Engine’s steps for producing more responsible, equal and compelling communication:
Be positive and empowering
There’s a fine line between sounding supportive and sounding patronising, according to the agency group. They recommend that the 21st Century woman is not only presented in a positive light, but that this is coupled with empowerment. A good example of this is Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.
Engine states: “Choose inspirational and representative ambassadors and have a philosophy that your brand can genuinely get behind.”
Be future focused
Brands need to be at the forefront of cultural change if they expect the next generation to pay attention, according to Engine. To do this, brands must stay ahead of the crowd and listen to customers.
Be a force for good
With 65% of women in Engine’s report saying that they would be pleased to see that social media no longer existed, it is clear that women are feeling a lot of pressure from social activity. Engine says that brands need to harness the influence that social media presents and make it work for women.
“Avoid pitting women against one another, promoting unrealistic expectations and flaunting unachievable ideals,” Engine states.
Amazon Fashion took hold of this conversation with its ‘Say Something Nice’ campaign which promoted sharing positive comments on social media.
Be open minded
The agency group warns against making assumptions on gender. There are 32 million women in the UK who are all very different.
Engine states: “Challenge stereotypes and think about the way your audience wants to be presented. Don’t just revert to predictable ways of representing women – see if the precedent is warranted first.”
Don’t be worried about using feminine images, words and ideas. But, know when you’re doing it and have a good reason for doing so and make sure it fits the product and strategy, states Engine.
Candy Crush’s ‘Meet the Real Jelly Queen’ is highlighted as a good example of this, to the group. Although it uses pink and purple branding, it is an example of ‘a girl who enjoys being a girl’.
Engine states: “Get to know your audience in meaningful ways – their likes, dislikes, age, location and purchase history are often more important factors than gender to consider.
“But don’t just stop there – see if there’s a bigger thought that transcends the audience. Look to your product’s purpose and the feeling it evokes to find out what your inspiration should be.”
“Make your customer journeys work harder to create the best experience possible at every touchpoint,” states Engine.
Because people are more vocal when customer service goes wrong – and women are most active on social media – brands should ensure that they are helpful at every step of the way.
Engine encourages that PR teams reflect society with equal members: “How can we create campaigns for women if we don’t have any women in our teams? At Engine, we aim to have a 50/50 split of men and women at every level of our organisation.”