Brands get it wrong when addressing Women/Girls through Sport, Fitness & Community Activity - by Paul Reynolds, Director, The Women's Sports Network.
Millions of women worldwide ‘want to get more active’. In Western countries the majority of them are the primary decision maker for many household products and services. Men’s sport gets 98% of the advertising/marketing cake in terms of promotional spend. So why haven’t brands addressed this huge, easily definable and highly attractive segment of the market through sport & community?
It starts by understanding what ’sport’ means to the average man and women and why the traditional ‘sports‘ sales channels are not appropriate to address women. For men – who happen to control the majority of the (sports) communication channels (Print Media/TV/outdoor/Advertising/commercial representation etc.) – sport is a tribal, competitive process. Whether competing or watching – it’s the competition and winning that’s important.
Men on a Mission
Men see sport as a primary element of life and use the competitive nature of sport to reinforce long-standing and highly developed (cosmopolitan - old boy) networks as part of ‘ego reinforcement’. They draw satisfaction from the binary elements of winning / losing and ‘doing’ sport as opposed to not ‘doing’ sport. For men, sport is a ‘mission’, a satisfying way of life. . a right to immerse themselves (with others) in a secure ‘shed’ from which to build confidence - fitness becoming just an unnecessary adjunct to those who actually compete. Like lots of things in life men focus on ’outcomes’
Women on a Journey
The majority of women (tend to) see sport and fitness as an ancillary privilege, an opportunity to collaborate in a community and to support their families. A process – not an entity in itself but a way of engaging with others, supporting their families and – something to fit in with other community activities. They also see fitness and physical literacy as an entry point or even barrier to sport – fear of failure/judgement will often mollify a women’s approach to sport/fitness – meaning exercise is often done partly though a duty to families and communities and to establish local support networks. Women, again like lots of things in life – are often more interested in the process rather than the outcome. So how does this impact the way brands address women/girls through sport, fitness & leisure?
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