Good Monday Morning! As promised, today it is about marketing - but what flashed for me today is how separate marketing/advertising/selling seem to be from core values like integrity, honesty, and value added. It is like two separate conversations. Here is what I believe, oh, and here is what I am willing to do to sell my product or service.
It was this article that caught me eye..."Where are all the men?" It is an overview of the issue within China of a higher ratio of men to women from their preference for sons vs. daughters. While the one child policy has also led to this imbalance, it's not covered within this article - but what is real is that there are more men than women and the result is the selling, trafficking, and kidnapping of women to the highest bidder. Yes, women are still for sale.
The mixed message comes as this article is in Marie Claire - a magazine for young women surrounded by ads for products that all support the idea that the more physically beautiful a woman is, the more value she has. Ugh, when will we as women stop responding to this kind of advertisement?
I was recently reviewing the marketing focus for a makeup company that had all the right values to inspire this new breed of women that is emerging - social cause, sustainability, and a positive use of the earths resources. But their marketing was all fall back on traditional make-up focused advertising - a young Hollywood actress for a spokesperson, the exact same look and feel to their website and marketing materials as every other customer of the New York PR firm that represents them, and absolutely no tie in to the very values they espouse on the company mission page.
It's like the chicken and the egg - which came first, or rather, which is willing to go first now? I think there is a lot of agreement that we as women don't really value being valued as objects or just here to fuflill a role in the man's world. The men who bought wives are shocked when they run away. In their minds, they were all happy together.
But, (and this is for the women, because only we can change this) when will we value ourselves enough to stop responding to the messages from companies that we need their products to feel okay about ourselves in the first place?
Here is the great risk - what if business went first? What if a business, like the make-up company, stopped telling me I should use their make-up to feel as beautiful as a 20-something actress who has done nothing of value to or for this world and rather celebrates all ages for who they are and not just what they look like?
I started asking women over 40 how they feel about those ads. They all rolled their eyes and grunted - but will still buy the products because wanting to feel and look our best doesn't mean we buy into the idea that is is our only value in this world.
And the real message - don't expect any brand loyalty from those customers. We all go where we want when we want regardless of brand when we feel that the brand doesn't understand us or respect us enough to meet us where we live and not in the fantasy land of being 21 forever....
At the end of the article on China, it was often the women who were more defensive of the idea that sons were of greater value. But in their society, it is the son who takes care of the mother when she is old. That same message is still conveyed in the west - that a woman is safe when she has a husband to care for her. Of course, anyone over 40 knows that is funny and not true, but we all wanted to believe!
Integrity is a very tough subject to talk about and even harder to act upon. Money has been the driver of our society for so long many no longer even consider what the cost is in terms of life for all. But nothing changes until the brave and courageous go first. Great rewards require great risks. It's just a sad statement that to live and do business with integrity is even risky at all.
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!