Women’s History Month, brands and social networks: how to talk about it without falling into purple washing


According to a 5WPR study, 83% of millennials want brands to align with their values. So no wonder that brands have been more vocal about their purpose and goals for social, economic and environmental impact – but it comes with its set of challenges.


Women's History Month, a key time for women-focused brands –and a lot of brands in general– to show they care, is often derailed by concerns with backfiring or falling into “femvertising”. 


Sharing an inspiring message, hiring an influencer, launching a new product variant or simply creating a “happy international women’s day” post can become a headache as a result of poor guidance on creativity and communication.


Unforeseen events can also occur: choosing the wrong partner or a poor preliminary research can result in a social media crisis and adversely affect the reputation of the brand or the client.


Others are just embarking on this path, but have launched marketing campaigns on highly sensitive social topics like feminism, sexual diversity, discrimination, body positivity, among others. In some cases these efforts were successful while in others they resulted in a decline of the brand's reputation.


At InPulse Digital we share our fundamentals guide on how to approach
Women’s History Month responsibly and avoid a potential reputational crisis.


You gotta walk the talk


The World Economic Forum’s 2021 Global Gender Gap Report found that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, women’s income has gone backwards to 68% of parity. At the current trend it will now take 135 years to close the gap worldwide. 


It is disingenuous and dangerous to launch a marketing campaign on gender equality if it hasn’t been enforced within the company to achieve equity in salaries, opportunities, and female leadership. It is a priority to address internal issues first, before taking a public stance: create an open environment, actively listen to how women feel in the company, and establish a team in which women share positions of leadership.


At InPulse Digital women represent 60% of the workforce and 75% of leadership roles. 


Listen to the conversation first


In 2019, Casio launched a pink calculator to celebrate working women and the networks exploded.


Explore and understand what Women's History Month or Women’s International Day means around the world and in the region where the brand operates. This day is a symbol of the fight for equal rights and not a mere celebration of beauty, femininity or motherhood.


Align with your brand’s identity


Your message must be aligned with your product or service. A luxury brand’s social post about a woman in a factory is not consistent, unless the brand has a proven track record of improving conditions for women in its factories.


Exercising empathy to understand the link between the obstacles that women in the industry face or their relationship with the product that is offered, is the secret to successful inspiration.


Define who you want to impact


Who are the women who follow the brand? What is important to them? What current events are affecting them? Could we address men instead? These are some of the questions that marketing teams must take into account before launching a women-focused marketing campaign. Not directing the message to the correct audience can be a serious mistake.


Choose courage over comfort


There is nothing more compelling for brands than to honestly face and break with their own industry prejudices. A beauty company calling on women to appear bare-faced, or a fashion company communicating how the lack of sizes impacts female self-esteem has impact and value.  But this alone is not enough: The campaign must be accompanied by a real change in the products or services for sale. Communication requires compromise. 


Always be willing to learn (and then learn some more!)


Information and training on diversity, inclusion and gender is growing and becoming more complex. Marketers in particular, and companies in general, should incorporate this into their daily training and communication. Brand messages will be stronger the more they are aligned with current global, regional and local conversations. 


And finally: representation matters


Identification in advertising is a must for responsible communication, and is not limited  to Women's History Month. According to a study by Kantar IBOPE, 77% of the people surveyed stated that advertisements in Latin America do little to portray the diversity of their people.  Reviewing what stereotypes are being promoted in the brand's advertising campaigns is essential.


At InPulse we make sure that every campaign that could have a blind spot is seen by our multicultural team with their different points of view. We have also made sure that women in our team have a leading voice in women-focused campaigns. 


CEO & Chief Strategist of InPulse Digital. More than 15 years of experience in digital, media and technology. Leads 360 digital strategies and digital transformation projects in various industries such as Entertainment, Lifestyle, Trends and Mass Consumption.


InPulse Digital is a strategic, creative, and media digital agency with more than 15 years of experience. We are allies in the digital transformation of companies' communication strategies. With deep experience in data-driven digital and social media strategy, content production, and unique paid media efficiencies, InPulse Digital exists to find the right strategy for your brand.

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