Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gender-Based Branding: 5 Hypotheses

The other day it occurred to me that while marketers routinely differentiate between men and women as target audiences, brand strategies don't often make this distinction.

In this context "marketing" = meeting customer needs in the broadest sense, while "branding" = creating the impression of superior value.

Here are some loose hypotheses I'm tossing around:

1. Visual vs. imagination - men need to see what they are buying (inspect dimensions, etc.) women prefer to embellish it in their heads
(Related hypothesis could be called "explicit vs. storytelling": men prefer to be told directly and concisely what the product is and does vs. women like to learn about it in the context of a story, by inference, etc. - like product placement or infomercial)

2. Specialized vs. lifestyle - men prefer a brand that claims to do one thing well; women like an umbrella brand that brightens everything it touches (Dr. Oz vs. Oprah)

3. Functional vs. emotional - men are more likely to care about objectively provable quality whereas women care more about brands that evoke a specific feeling

4. Ownership vs. experience - men prefer brands that offer the experience of control vs. women gravitate to brands that control the experience for them

5. Admirer vs. object of admiration - men gravitate to brands they can polish, clean, and admire vs. women gravitate to brands that put them at the center of attention

I'm wondering if anyone agrees, disagrees, or has other dimensions of brand-based value creation that may differ along gender lines. (For example, are certain colors, or color families, more effective by gender? Do customers respond to corporate social responsibility promises based on gender?)

Note that I'm not trying to be prescriptive or sexist here, but rather to offer some concepts based loosely on my own observations. Welcoming everyone's thoughts and comments.

Thanks everyone, have a good day and good luck!

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