"Our industry spends billions [on advertising] every year. These are the images that we as an industry are sending out across the world. 80% of women do not identify with these stereotypes that we as an industry are putting out there"
Keith Weed, The Future of Brand, Cannes Lions 2016
As one of the world’s largest networked communication businesses, WPP has a unique perspective on how brands across categories market to women in different geographies and multi-cultures. Our creative agencies produce advertising campaigns for a huge number of global brands, our media agencies work with all top media owners around the globe, and our research businesses track, on a daily basis, how well women receive messaging from brands.
A number of WPP agencies (including JWT and Grey) were creating communications to engage women before women were granted the vote in the UK. Last year, along with five other networked agencies, WPP signed up to support the Common Future Project, an initiative aimed at driving awareness and action specifically among Gen Z, or 15- to 24-year-olds, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the United Nations in 2015. One of those goals is gender equality around the globe. See more details here. For on-going initiatives, see here.
Our focus on understanding women is relentless – here are just a few examples of projects that might be of interest:
Kantar commissioned a new study as part of the What Women Want? programme which found that brands promoting gender-balanced marketing are worth £774 billion more. Brands across the UK are risking their customer relationships and impacting their brand value by failing to correctly reflect, represent and champion women in their marketing and advertising efforts. This study reports that despite an increased focus on equality driven by movements like #MeToo, major brands are still not effectively acknowledging women’s priorities, or communicating with women in an empowering manner at every step of the customer journey.
Female Tribes is a J. Walter Thompson proprietary insight study about women around the world. This living study, conducted globally, makes the agency one of the most knowledgeable about the largest consumer category in the world: women. Check out JWT report of the work debriefed at Cannes in 2017 which was a collaboration with the Geena Davis Institute on gender equality in media.
Winning Over Women - this Kantar study has unearthed a $133bn opportunity UK Financial Services sector is missing out on due to not connecting with female customers meaningfully. The findings have been received with overwhelming interest by clients, as well as press, having received extensive coverage. This year we aim to extend this study to tech sector to better understand what they can do to better connect with their female customers and meet their needs.
A collaboration between Kantar & Campaign Asia, this Survey on Gender Equality in Media and Marketing Industries, has been conducted across Asia Pacific . It led to the Mandate for Change, which was signed by the 6 major media holding companies, and is now being extended to other businesses across APAC.
Designing to the edges - a research to understand the potential market share impact of brands removing their ‘blue lenses’ and being more inclusive in their design and communications. The main idea is that when you design for an average it suits nobody, because nobody is exactly average, but when you design to the edges or the extremes it should suit nearly everyone. This aims to help brands quantify the risk or opportunity they have at the moment and looking at which touchpoints they need to address to design their brand experience to the edges.
Women 2020 was published in 2013 by Kantar Consulting (previously The Futures Company). It predicted that women around the World would be more vocal and more active about changing the environments in which they live. It highlighted that understanding women is important, both because they are potential new sources of growth, and because the changes in how women think and act have repercussions for their wider society and, by implication, for popular and consumer culture – how true!
The Evolving Afro Feminine: this 2017 report by Kantar Consulting South Africa is looking at how to win with African women to drive brand growth. The findings showed that many global brands are not resonating with this influential cohort and are missing out on an untapped opportunity. The report outlines the changing landscape in Africa and makes recommendations on achieving better connections by respecting heritage and values.
A post co-written by Anne Rayner from Kantar TNS on how women still feel misunderstood by advertisers, despite their importance as customers.
Up and Counting - the Cultural Practice of Kantar Consulting also looked at Gender bias through a social imaging study in 2017 of user-generated content. With over 350 million photos posted to Facebook each day, it is clear that visual social media carries real influence in the World in which we live.
Where we stand: Inclusion in the Market Research Sector – in 2018 Lightspeed and MRS published this report on diversity. The initiative aimed to document where the industry stood on talent diversity and highlighted biases that the sector needs to recognise and correct if it is to thrive in the future.
Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer, Mediacom and co-author of The Glass Wall has written many articles on the topic of engaging women including one published by WARC in June 2017 entitled - How to market effectively to women. It offers six best practice ideas to help marketers better target the huge and diverse demographic of women, who today make between 70% and 80% of all purchases worldwide.
To mark International Women’s Day in 2018, Kantar have released an opinion piece combining headlines from a number of recent studies entitled How women in the UK are shaping their future - examining how women’s perceptions of their role in society have shifted over the past five years. The overview talks about evolving their identities, becoming more independent, claiming independence, asserting control over financial matters and harnessing social momentum through technology.