In KPMGs 2016 global CEO report, 86% of CEOs cite a lack of time as a barrier to thinking strategically about the forces of disruption in business. 88% are concerned about loyalty with existing consumers, and 89% are confident that they can succeed in transforming their company.
Here’s 4 ways you can help your business grow.
1. Get real with research. Ask questions that haven’t ever been asked before.
Get your “growth mind set” on, and encourage your teams to find new opinions about old thought patterns. Living in an era where we can drown in data can often mean many assumptions are being made about behavior and feelings and this leads to opportunities being overlooked.
The same questions give us the same hackneyed answers. This single lane thinking reminds me of the drill company thinking they were in the power tool business when in fact they were in the business of making holes. And we all know the story of the intern who came up with a way to sell more toothpaste by making a bigger hole in the tube. Don’t you love the smell of fresh thinking and new approaches?
Procter and Gamble did business unusual with their beauty brand Dove. Rather than undertake the same approach to research, they trusted a few outsiders to find a new way in to seek out the truth in the beauty business – a Harvard Professor and a London School of Economics PhD. A couple of new eyes and brains to a category problem set them on a completely new path of examination. Twelve years later the results still show growth and ROI from an unorthodox approach to the same problem.
2. Put your monocultures on notice, remove groupthink partners who homogenise gender.
In 2016 in the US, CMOs Antonio Lucio of HP, Pepsi’s Brad Jakeman and Ann Simonds of General Mills put their money where their (customers) mouths are. They asked for an accurate reflection of their consumers in their agency teams. They justifiably exercised their power as the client to demand a smarter approach to their business. Hopefully, this is just the beginning and the catalyst that will bring about greater change. It’s time the advertising industry followed suit and reflects the diverse world that purchase product.
It is this kind of perspicacity and willingness that is required to redesign the system and better understand women with their unmet and overlooked needs as consumers. Time to transform our old ways of working and operating, in not only the marcomms industry, but also all industries and all businesses today.
3. Appoint more women to your Board. Results show Boards with more women make more money.
Diversity is better for business. Plain and simple. It has been a much-discussed topic with executives for at least a decade. Diversity translates to innovation, improved outcomes and bigger profit. Catalyst, McKinsey and EY present countless in-depth studies that show diversity in all forms including gender, race and disability will yield upwards of 15% greater returns.
In 2015 McKinsey published a study “Diversity Matters” where they examined data sets for 366 public companies across range of industries in Canada, Latin America, UK and US. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Companies in bottom quartile, both for gender, ethnicity and race, were statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set – they are lagging, not leading. In the UK, greater gender diversity on the senior-executive team corresponded to the highest uplift in our data set: for every 10% increase in gender diversity, EBIT rose by 3.5%.
In 2016, Peterson Institute for International Economics & EY created a study called ‘Is Gender Diversity Profitable’? It examined 22,000 public companies across 91 different countries in 2014 about half of which had no female executives. Moreover 60% had no women on their boards and fewer than 5% had female CEOs. Evidence from a Global Study found that companies with at least 30% female leaders had net profit margins up to 6% points higher than companies with no women in top ranks.
The facts speak for themselves. The latest 1Australian report showed that women in full-time employment earn almost 23% less than men. And at CEO level just 16.3% of women are represented, 37.4% of managers despite making up 46% of the workforce. The Global Rankings from the United Nations Gender Inequality Index 2 show Australia and the US sitting as neighbors’ in positions 46th and 47th out of 144 countries.
4. Change your process of design and development – add female-think.
If Philip Kotler was the father of segmentation, then marketing needs a new parent.
Add more steps, refine the methodology, don’t think efficiently – think more deeply. Marketing process was developed by men in a different era and we need to give the process an overhaul through a female lens. Our brain chemistry and our behaviour are different and significant enough to rethink old world marketing. Try segmentation processes that consider her options, her concerns, her alternatives and ideally what they would look like. Bring in an A-team to solve the problems – try a new approach, and a new lens that works for the nuances and subtleties of your business and your customers. Be bold, try a new tact – test it, refine it, launch it.
Quite simply, it’s time we see our business leaders actually setting the pace on changing up the old business lens and understand the value of women as employees, customers and brand advocates. Get it right with women and be sure to usher in a profitable and buoyant 2017.
Bec Brideson is a marketing-to-women pioneer helping brands and businesses leverage the growing female economy. With over 20 years advertising experience and insight, Bec is running a consultancy to help businesses make more profit and leverage their female audiences.
- Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 16th November 2016
- United Nations Development Programmed, Human Development Report 2015