According to some florists in the UK, winning or being the lucky recipient of a bouquet of flowers was the best way to mark this month’s International Women’s Day. This is clearly missing the point and an example of brands simply cashing in on an initiative designed to highlight the many issues facing women across the globe.
So what can brands to do align themselves with the cause in a believable and ethical way that will help to amplify and support the initiative, while adding kudos and authenticity to their image? Here are some great examples where brands have not just vocalised their support for women’s issues but expressed it where it matters and resonates most – in the real world.
Leading your field
She Means Business – Facebook
This is a subdomain on Facebook’s main social platform, hosting articles, insights and resources to help women grow and promote their own businesses. Facebook is able to talk on this subject with authority due to its paid advertising products. It has added further credibility to this by collaborating with Enterprise Nation (https://www.enterprisenation.com/) – an organisation that will help you start and grow your business, whose founder is Emma Jones MBE. Facebook has also collaborated with another organisations, such as the FSB.org, which covers financial and business advice for SMEs.
The key feature of this site is how it invites you to explore inspiring stories, from NGOs, etc, that will be broadcast through FB Live. Facebook also wants you to get involved by hosting your own live session. The content hosted here will be evergreen and as long as Facebook keeps adding to it, this will become a very valuable resource and business-focused social platform.
Equality for All
Equalizing Music – Smirnoff, Spotify, The Black Madonna, Live Nation, Fabric and more.
Smirnoff has launched a three-year gender equality campaign to mark International Women’s Day. Equalising Music is aimed at establishing gender parity across the music industry. Its particular focus is on electronic music, as only 17% of headliners at electronic festivals were women, according to the figures published by Smirnoff. Further stats showed that only 5% of music producers are women.
Equalising Music’s goal is to double the number of female headliners at major festivals. This campaign is extremely well suited to Smirnoff, which has a long history of positioning its brand alongside the music industry.
#WeSeeEqual – P&G
P&G has launched its video #WeSeeEqual to advocate gender equality. The video features men and women who are out there in the real world actively defying stereotypes. There is also footage from the FMCG giant’s previous campaigns such as #LikeAGirl (Always) and Raise, which was focused on equal pay for women.
Gender equality isn’t a new topic for P&G, this highlighted in its annual 2016 report its aspiration to build “a world free from gender bias”. Last year, it stole the show at the Cannes Lions Festival launching #unstereotype to draw attention to the plethora of female stereotyping in advertising, backed by global research that showed that this approach meant that brands were actually alienating women rather than attracting and engaging with them. P&G has since implemented #unstereotype and a generally purpose-driven stance across its brand portfolio, registering and uplift in engagement as a result.
Become Whatever You Want
Pretty Curious: EDF
In partnership with Sense, EDF Energy launched its campaign pretty curious to get more girls to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at school five years ago, hosting a series of workshops at schools across the country. It is targeting girls who are between 12 and 15 years old to encourage them to continue their education in these subjects at A-level and beyond. The aim is to address the huge gender imbalance that exists in these areas to create more career opportunities for women and also ensure that is enough talent available for these growing sectors.
If you are brand and looking to get coverage by leveraging the buzz and interest in a conversation that is taking place, you must consider whether your business has a genuine authority to be involved by adding real value to it. The worst thing you can do is trivialising the conversation by commercialising it for your own marketing needs. The purpose bandwagon is here. But don’t simply jump on it. Put together a relevant, authentic strategy and bring it to life in the real world.
Ally Biring is Social and Digital Director at Sense.