Gender neutral marketing

With gender roles being in a state of flux, businesses should be inclusive about gender. Gender intelligence measures  people’s comprehension and inclusion of gender differences. The world is changing in order to design itself around the needs of both genders.   The worlds of marketing, product design, and customer experience should also strive to do the same. Traditional views on gender are also giving way to more inclusive ones  that allow for  individualized manifestations of gender that go beyond the binary model.

Market research shows instances of women lamenting that they feel ignored by financial product services which do not meet their needs . Sales staff continue to patronize them in car dealerships. It does not matter where a business is on the gender-intelligence curve, as a mindset change is required. If businesses these days aren’t gender inclusive, chances are they might lose out on potential customers. Brands are finally taking notice that it is not wise to classify products by gender, as quite a few millenials and half of generation Z believe that the traditional gender binary is outdated.  Members of generation Z have higher expectations of brands in terms of whether they reflect their values.

If a brand moves beyond the gender binary in the way it markets its products, it will not only appeal to the young, but also make people of all age groups who never aligned closely with traditional gender roles, feel more welcome. With the public appetite for gender neutral branding growing, some brands have attempted to transform themselves, whether by reframing their copywriting or by introducing gender neutral product lines. Quite a few businesses are introducing products that are ungendered, as given below.

1) Mattel – In 2020, Mattel introduced the  ‘world’s first gender-neutral doll’. Marketers have been introducing gendered attributes in products in an effort to make them more marketable. In contrast to that, a gender neutral doll will help kids play with toys that are free from gender norms. Millennial parents have pushed back against gender specifically gendered sections in toy stores in favor of gender neutral sections. For instance, they have insisted on exposing girls to Chemistry kits that  teach them about Science. Mattel tested the doll with 250 families across seven states, including 15 children who identify as trans, gender-nonbinary or gender fluid–those children  who do not see themselves reflected in the media let alone their toys. Some of these children even confessed that they dreaded Christmas because the gifts they got were not made for them. Mattel found that Generation Alpha children were wary of labels no matter their gender identity. They were more than happy with a doll that had no name and could adapt according to their wishes.

2) Procter & Gamble – Procter & Gamble used its clout to convey a social message through a commercial. The commercial featured a man teaching his transgender son how to shave. The commercial did receive some negative press, but it also received some positive feedback from the trans community. The strategy has been applauded for its boldness.

3) Milk Makeup – Makeup brand Milk Makeup teamed up with skincare brand Very Good Light to start a campaign called, ‘Blur the Lines’. The campaign questioned gender norms and stereotypes within the beauty industry by featuring activists, models and creators of all identities talking about how beauty products make them feel beautiful.The campaign successfully conveyed the message that beauty products do not have to adhere to beauty rules.

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