As cultural experts, we have been talking for the past few years of the rise of feminine values in society.
Whether it be the values and behaviours of celebs, business leaders, fashion, brands or just the acceptable norms of behavior, we have witnessed a radical shift away from the traditional, masculine dominated rules that have determined how people, brands and businesses behave. Rational, hierarchical, selfish, calculated, power-based values and actions are being replaced by something more emotional, warm, intuitive and social. Frankly, we are becoming more real and human!
This is certainly not a male versus female thing. This is just as relevant for men as it is women. It is interesting to note in both the recent Clinton versus Sanders and May versus Corbyn political votes, it was the male candidate that exhibited more of the feminine values, representing a more human, caring, honest, empathic narrative. This appealed particularly strongly to the new generation of younger voters.
Whilse May focused on the facts around costs and offered a vision of power and a dependable, strong leadership, Corbyn instead adopted a much more human approach, where compassion, equality, fairness and collective responsibility was the mantra. One manifesto was cold and clinical, built around fear, the other much more a vision around a shared prosperity and hope. While May clearly had supporters, Corbyn was the one who had the truly passionate believers (especially among the young) who frequently turned out in large numbers and showed their public support vocally. Again, shades of the Bernie Sanders phenomenon.
We are also seeing it within the world of brands. The big, traditional brands (and the businesses behind them) are struggling to connect with younger consumers who are instead inspired by a more engaging, flexible and intuitive approach. New, rising stars are offering a more authentic, human proposition, with a clear and positive contribution to the world, where they actively invite people to join them and be part of building a better future. The old world of ‘big is best’ (powerful, successful, status) no longer holds. Scale is valuable only if it is used in a productive way for people and society. Again, we see a shift from masculine to feminine values.
The same is true of the behaviours within businesses. The leadership values that were valued most used to be toughness, aggression, drive, focus and ambition (largely individualistic and selfish). But in today’s connected world, with all its complexities and challenges, the shift is towards leaders who display EQ over IQ, with more openness, collaboration, humility and listening to others.
Just as Theresa May and the Conservative party have discovered, to appeal to people today you need to adopt a new approach. Femininity is the new operating system for the 21st century.
If you would like to make sure that you and your brands are in tune with this cultural shift, then join us at our upcoming London event on 29 June, The Future of Business is Feminine. Innate Motion are partnering with Collective London to bring speakers from the likes of Unilever and Hyundai who will share their experiences of how the adoption of feminine values enables their businesses to grow and stay in tune with the values and culture of a new generation of consumers. You can register for your tickets here.
Jeff MacDonald is business humaniser at Innate Motion.