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Don't pile on the puppies

We've been talking about the whole 'fuzzy-warm' issue in marketing to women a lot at the office lately.

There seems to be a widespread perception out there that if a brand wants to connect with female consumers, it's all and ONLY about being able to form an emotional bond with her. We call this the 'fuzzy-warm' syndrome and it makes our hair stand on end.

What frustrates us (and no doubt many, many other women out there) is the concept that a woman is ALL about emotions. (It's a little degrading, you know). Show us a puppy and we'll ohhhh and ahhhhhh over it and of course buy your product. Put the song "Unchained Melody" in your ad and you've got us - for the remainder of our consuming days. Show us a woman having fun, laughing with her girlfriends and we're right there, ready to pull out our over-flowing wallets! Do the warm and fuzzy on us and nothing else matters anymore.


The current hype surrounding the 'power' of the female consumer means there is great interest, albeit often misguided, in understanding women as consumers. We've all heard it - numerous times: connecting with female consumers emotionally is what it's all about.

I think this needs a little clarification.

Yes, an emotional connection with a brand is important to us. Yes, what Seth Godin said "women don't buy a brand, they join it" can be true.


We can only be great brand ambassadors IF many other criteria (and herein lies the crux of the matter!) are fulfilled too.

IF your product delivers what it promises

IF it helps solve the problem I want solved

IF price / quality makes sense to me

IF your service is outstanding - time and time again

IF you give us the information we want: where we want it, when we want it and in all the detail we want it

IF we sense you're being honest and care about more than just us and our money.

And yes, IF your marketing is inspiring and empowering, then we'll connect with your brand.
But don't underestimate us: this is no irrational relationship in which (to use a soppy song) "Love lifts us up where we belong", and one bad experience can still ruin the relationship forever.

Marketeers should remember that women's purchasing behavior is complex, and never based solely on an emotional connection.

As I've always said: Be Brave. Be Real. Show Value.