What do women really want?

Marketers are always warned to stay away from clichés. It has long been recognised that ’pinking’ brands is the least imaginative, patronising way to appeal to a female customer. Yet there are plenty of brands, especially mobile handset ones, that still use this tactic in an attempt to attract female shoppers.

But is it such a bad thing to stereotype the female consumer? According to research conducted by The Centre of Brand Analysis, which produces the Superbrands list, women are highly rating typically female brands.

Its research has found that females voting for the brands for the Superbrand list, are plumping for brands with a clear gender bias. Despite an evolution in gender roles, there are still clear female and male brands. Homeware, cosmetics, and toy brands are favoured by females. Whereas fast food, alcohol and betting brands are liked by men.

It’s not just about making different choices though. Women are evaluating brands with a different criteria from men even though when responding to the Superbrands list they are asked to rate brands on the same criteria. Women associate quality with premium and rate ethical credentials more highly than men, the research suggests. Men are apparently attracted to robust products.

However, the TBCA’s research into emotionally connected brands shows the top ten brands that appeal to women are a real mix, indicating that some brands that are not stereotypically female brands are managing very well to connect with women. Nokia, Google and Microsoft are just a few examples. The way these brands are advertised appeal to women.

So there are indications that brands can win over female consumers when they’re not typical woman-focused brands. But, Google and Microsoft have certainly not gone down the ’pinking’ route to gain female love.

There are still brand stereotypes, of course – I suppose it’s not really a great shock that cosmetics brands appeal to women. What this research does show is that non-stereotypical brands have to work harder to get the female vote.

To read more on these trends, click here



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