Ankit Ajmera

India Brand Summit 2006: How to reach out to the modern Eve

At the India Brand Summit 2006, speakers such as Nita Kapoor of Godfrey Phillips, Meenakshi Madvani of Spatial Access, Apurva Purohit of Radio City and Nanette D’sa of STAR India, threw light on the general misconceptions a marketer has while addressing the modern Eve

Today’s Eve works for the armed forces, or even runs her own business. She also drives a car, smokes cigarettes or even consumes alcohol. In fact, she does almost everything which, until a few years ago, was considered to be Adam’s domain.

As per an independent survey done among SEC A & B women in the age group of 18-25, 77 per cent believed in a steady career and financial independence and about 75 per cent believed in working post-marriage. Around 65 per cent wanted to be financially independent before marriage, and about 55 per cent felt that they could survive without marriage.

This indicates the changing mindset and lifestyle of the modern Eve. The 21st century woman has moved from being financially dependent to being self-sufficient and today she is in control of her life. In fact, it is likely that we will find quite a few Adams among these Eves, or rather masculine Eves.

In such a scenario, how does the advertiser reach out to these segments? “Not certainly through the K-serials,” quips Nita Kapoor, senior vice-president, marketing, Godfrey Phillips India. She was speaking at the India Brand Summit, held in Mumbai on September 22.

She said, “Marketers need to realise the relevance of Eve’s independence and should stop addressing her through gender specific advertising. Women will respond better to advertising better that is neutral by gender.”

However, she hastened to add that this didn’t mean there should be an alcohol or cigarette ad targeted towards women.

“What I mean here is that an SUV which is considered to be totally a male product should highlight certain features in its communication which could grab the attention of today’s Eve. For instance, a looking glass or an inbuilt space for a make-up kit in an SUV, ” she remarked.

Taking a similar line at the summit, Meenakshi Madhvani, managing partner, Spatial Access Solutions, said marketers often underestimate women. For instance, when a woman goes to buy a car for herself, the salesperson prefers to explain the features of the car to her husband or her male companion.

Madhvani asserted that marketers often try to push their ideas and messages through women. She doubted the effectiveness of a noodles ad where a mother is shown to be proudly cooking a two-minutes noodles for her kids, or a wrinkle-free cream ad in which an 18-year-old girl is shown endorsing the brand.

She again cited a senseless scheme offered by an edible oil brand, where it targeted the 25-plus housewife with five litres of edible oil at 50 per cent rate with an expiry date of one month.

On the other hand, Apurva Purohit, chief executive officer, Radio City, felt that a woman feels good when she is made to feel warm, secure and treated like a lady. This is one of the parameters that can help marketers understand the modern-day Eve better.

She added that women in general love to connect and build bonds and support systems around them. For instance, even while going to the washroom, women tend to ask their female companion to accompany them.

According to Purohit, the modern Eve is constantly on the look-out for fulcrums to build connections, and brands which adopt this strategy become successful. She cited the example of women-oriented brands such as Sunsilk, Sundrop and Parachute, which have been successful in creating such fulcrums.

Purohit added that women notice advertising which simply knocks, that has a peripheral feel to it rather than a direct one. She quoted the example of a brand such as Starbucks Coffee, which applied a circuitous marketing strategy by endorsing it through promotions such as music CDs, mugs and magnets and eventually struck a good chord with women.

Another speaker, Nanette D’sa, senior vice-president, licensing and merchandising, STAR India, explained that the demographic filters used by marketers, such as SEC A&B, age and language classifications or urban or rural categorisation, do not always capture the many aspects of Eve. Eve is elusive and difficult to locate and understand.

According to her, marketers should understand the various roles played by her such as wife, mother, sister or daughter, etc., to target brands properly at her. For example, decoding Eve as a mother, marketers should recognise her evolving needs with the growing age of her child and keep their marketing programmes dynamic. They should also understand the kid to reach to her and should involve and partner her, rather than outsmarting her. She cited the example of McDonald’s commercial, where the communication was very well targeted towards the mother through the kids.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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