Over 30% of brands to focus on improving communications to women in 2018 suggests Pearlfinders research

Brands expected to target females with more engaging communications in 2018

Pearlfinders has released its latest annual Global Index research and with national and international news agendas being heavily focused on diversity issues in 2017 the new report shows that 33% of brands in Europe are planning to increase their marketing to female audiences during 2018.

Research for the Global Index is conducted throughout the year and sees some 10,000 interviews with brand marketers conducted to measure trends and to reflect the purchasing intentions of the brand at the time of interview.

2017 started with the global Women’s March and concluded with Time magazine declaring the #MeToo Silence Breakers its ‘Person of the Year’ demonstrating a major global cultural shift, which it seems brands are taking seriously and are planning to back heavily with increased female orientated communications in 2018.

Findings suggest that in 2018 brands are set to increase their spend on Content by five per cent, increase spend on digital marketing to females by 3.1 per cent and increase consumer PR spend to women by 2.2 per cent, with the greatest year on year increases expected to come in the fashion and travel sectors.

Speaking of the findings Richard Dodgson, founder and creative director at Timebased Events, said: “We’ve been inspired by movements like Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’, Verizon’s ‘Inspire Her Mind’ and Puma’s ‘Do You’, with powerful women and meaningful messages at the centre.

“We work with brands that build events to contribute to the culture their audiences care about, and we’re expecting 2018 to be the year of women. In 2018 it will be more critical than ever for agencies and brands to understand how to trigger female emotions - and events will be at the very heart of delivering this.

“Access to positive associations with the worlds of fashion, design, music, film and celebrity culture will be needed by sectors like consumer electronics and sports like F1, who will be looking to prioritise the female audience.”

Other top line findings from the Global Index suggest the following:

• 14% of brands are planning to review their advertising AOR

• 26% increase in brands overhauling youth marketing

• 47% increase in brands targeting young HNWIs

• 76% of FMCG Food brands planning agency reviews in 2018 want to enhance their healthy credentials

• B2B marketing is getting sexier – even in the Industry & manufacturing sector 15% of all upcoming marketing projects are seeking an integrated creative agency

• 28% increase in the number of brands citing “authenticity” as a 2018 marcoms priority

Reflecting on the Index findings and how they will impact on the industry in 2018 Serge Vaezi, chief strategy and creative officer,UK& EMEA at Ogilvy PR, said: “2018 will see the on-going rise of brands that look at their marketing model as needing to add value in order to generate ‘news’. These brands understand the necessity to ‘talk less and do more’ in order to earn cultural relevance. Why?

“The proliferation of ad blocking technology is showing no slow down. We are seeing a swing back towards traditional, established news brands in a clear backlash to ‘fake news’. And more brands are behaving in a way that consumers, media and influencers find genuine, authentic and interesting.

“Consequently more clients are asking for strategies to make them culturally relevant. Big, channel agnostic ideas are fine, but the consumer is ever more demanding in their desire to know what’s in it for them."

Reinforcing this view Alex Charkham, strategy director at FUSE, added: “Technologies and innovations that can help create experiences will become more central to brands’ strategies and will also mean greater accountability and measurement for clients – better linking online and offline behaviours/ identities. VR and AR have already started to be more consistently employed by brands.

“The next step will be data and AI enabled frictionless personalised experiences, content distribution built increasingly around individual interests, technologies that allow audiences to become creators and tools that support better real-time data collation.

“There is a watch-out here though for brands; in such a fast-moving landscape it will become even more vital to maintain a clear purpose and identity in order to ensure that innovative activations contribute to brand goals, rather than becoming an end in themselves.”

The Pearlfinders Global Index can be accessed here.

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