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Opinion: What techniques can brands use to reach a female audience?

Finally, it seems women are beginning to be taken seriously as a market -- a bit more than the 'can't we just do it in pink' technique of old. In discussing how to approach marketing to the female sector, we must first acknowledge that the processes and drivers of purchase are indeed very different to their male counterparts.

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We must forget the bold, brash, masculine methodology and begin to explore how our brands, and companies, can begin to make meaningful approaches.

There is the nub of it -- meaningfulness. Women are more interested in the detail and are better, on the whole, at understanding semiotics and underlying meaning. This means they are not as easy to seduce with a big headline and offer message, instead looking deeper into what it really means.

Everyone understands that a key driver for women throughout all aspects of their life is talk -- talking to friends about feelings, to colleagues and clients about projects and aspirations, with suppliers about the market and innovations. It is a female trait to gather as much information, from as many sources as possible, to use in making decisions.

This means that traditional ‘from the TVC down' strategy is not the most effective. Brands must prove that they are aware of women's needs and desires, have considered them realistically and formed a considered response.

We must look at the issues surrounding our female consumers and create appropriate solutions, for a brand response.

Recently at Geronimo we were faced with a similar proposition when weasked to come up with an SP solution for a particular period. We however suggested there would be better brand uplift, not to mention longevity, in creating an added value service.

Our client, Radox, wanted to appeal to the family market and extend its caring proposition to ‘family well-being'.

Our solution was to create www.ourfamilytime.co.uk  -- a site that provides interesting, family-focussed, activities in the local area. Simply typing in a postcode brings up a list of local events for families to take part in -- saving mums the hassle of endless searching through listings in newspapers and magazines for something suitable.

Research was also conducted and the results used within PR articles, highlighting the disturbing facts about how little time the average UK family actually spends together and launching the site as a facility to help remedy this.

We also brought the proposition to life through an SP campaign, where mums could win ‘Familytime' - prizes included weekends away, bikes for all the family, board games and digital cameras. Covering all levels of family interaction and simply encouraging families to play together.

On top of these levels, we wanted to reward mums for their participation separately to the family, allowing them a bit of ‘Extra Special Time'. These spot rewards concentrated on simple pleasures, such as manicures, pedicures, facials. A small recognition for the key motivator of the family, congratulating and thanking them.

Where the Radox ‘Familytime' campaign succeeded was in positioning the brand as assistant and confidante to all mums -- understanding that they are pushed for time and acknowledging their desire, and inevitable guilt, over the amount of time spent as a family.

In approaching mums with a service and understanding first, then sales promotion and reward second, we began a conversation. Once the conversation has been initiated, who knows where it can go. The key factor with Radox is that the brand is the facilitator for this community and remains solid in its support.

This creates a much deeper level of trust for the brand, and a much higher propensity to purchase, than a short-lived 'sales promo' tactic could ever have done.

Becky McOwen-Wilson is creative director at Geronimo

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