Is your ideal client male or female? If you’re not sure that it even matters for brand strategies, you’ll be interested to learn just how differently men and women view shopping, purchasing, and brand loyalty.
Bloomberg studies have indicated that 85% of all purchases are made by women; and further, 95% of all purchases are influenced by women. For those of you creating brand strategies, that means that women are most likely a big part of your target audience; however, that doesn’t mean that every brand should focus their marketing and branding efforts on women alone. Maybe your brand is part of the 5% that caters specifically to men. Or, maybe one of your products is designed specifically for purchase and use by men.
Let’s discuss the differences between the male and female buying brains, as well as some brand strategies you can use to target each one.
Creating Gender-Specific Brand Strategies
At How to Build a Brand, we see brand owners overlooking gender in their brand strategies far too often. This is a big mistake, often made by those with the best intentions, but without knowledge of the BIG brain differences between men and women. The behavioural differences (when making purchases) are complex; however, we’d like to get you started on the road to building better brand strategies with these simple, but crucial, points:
- Product vs. Process: Women invest more time in the decision-making process when making a purchase. In many cases, they enjoy ‘the hunt,’ and may choose a brand based on their experiences whilst deciding. Men, on the other hand, want to make a quick decision, with focus on the product rather than the process. If your ideal client is a woman, make the buying process an experience that she will enjoy; if your ideal client is a man, get him in and out, quickly, without pomp and circumstance. Women are more likely to invest time in product comparison and quality research, whilst men will make speedy decisions about how well something will work for them.
- The Search for Perfection: When a man comes upon a product that will suit his needs, he makes the purchase. To the contrary, a woman is likely to continue her search even after she finds something suitable—always convincing herself that there’s a better option. What does this mean for brand strategies? It means that men should be convinced that a product will meet all their needs, while women should be convinced that she won’t find a product that will meet her needs more perfectly.
- Shopping Evolution: To some degree, men will evolve their shopping preferences to their needs; however, women are different. Throughout their lifetimes, they rarely change their shopping habits. Men’s shopping habits are more gender-wide, while women’s are more unique to the individual. For this reason, it would make sense to study your female ideal clients’ shopping habits and apply what you find to all the women along your demographic age range.
- Herd Mentality? Men are lone wolves when shopping. Women tend to make shopping a social experience. Use this knowledge to tailor your brand strategies and know that women are likely to not only bring a crowd with them, but are more likely to recommend your brand to their friends. Incentivise them—reward women for numbers. Sell men on a no-nonsense, singular encounter.
- E-commerce: Because women are more likely to engage in a shopping experience, they are less likely than men to switch over to all-online buying. Men like the ease with which they can click and get out, whilst the women long for the hands-on process.
- Definition of Success: If a man leaves an establishment empty-handed, he will probably feel that he has failed. A woman, on the other hand, will not be as disappointed—she’ll just forge ahead with the next option, knowing that her visit has afforded her the information necessary to make an even better decision. If the man didn’t find what he wanted, he probably won’t be back, whilst the woman will value her experience there and may check in for her next purchase.
- Impulse Buying: As you may have guessed by the direction in which these tips are going, women aren’t generally impulse buyers; however, there are tactics that brands use to try to convert them to impulse buyers (including, but not limited to, music, lighting, and mirror choices in shops). This may seem to be successful in the short term; however, once a woman has a chance to think about ‘what she’s done,’ she will probably regret the purchase and all chances of brand loyalty are gone. A man is far less apt to regret an impulse purchase—he would rather settle for something less than satisfactory than continue shopping.
- Sale Prices and Coupons: A man will pay more for a quick and easy experience, whereas a woman is more likely to invest time in finding the best deal. Along these same lines, you won’t find many men using coupons—it’s just too much of a hassle. Similarly, men aren’t busting down doors to get to the sales rack.
In short, men want features that meet their needs, plenty of inventory, and a speedy buying process. Women want a shopping experience to remember and a feeling of accomplishment in their purchase decisions.
Use what you’ve learnt here to fashion brand strategies that speak to males or females – depending your target audience. The differences may seem subtle, but when you cater to your demographic gender with the type of buying process they crave, they’re not only more likely to purchase, they’re more likely to come back and to recommend your brand to their networks.
Looking for more information about brand strategies and building them around your ideal client? For more help or advice on brand strategies, please get in touch with us on [email protected] and get your daily branding tips by subscribing to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HowToBuildABrand.