Why women’s sport can deliver big results for brands

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While it may not offer the scale of many male sports, investing in women’s sport can offer an opportunity for brands to engage with people in more innovative and emotional ways…

Speak to any CMO or agency and they’ll tell you that it has never been more difficult to connect with consumers.

Now that may seem strange given all the different channels through which we can engage but, given consumers on average are exposed to as many as 5,000 advertising messages a day, cutting through that clutter is a gigantic challenge. Consumption habits are constantly evolving and attention spans shortening by the day.

Brands are doing their best by trying to stay ahead of the curve and invest in areas they believe will see the biggest growth.  Is it E-sports?  Drone Racing? Influencer Marketing?

What we do know about today’s consumer, and particularly the younger generation, is that they gravitate to brands with a purpose.  It’s no longer a nice to have… it’s a must.

women sports

The interests that increasingly drive consumer behaviour are less linked to products and more towards sharing of values.

With this being the case, I’m perplexed as to why more brands continue to overlook the power of being associated with women’s sport.

If the argument is still lack of coverage, then I would say that the brands lack imagination.

Women make up more than 50% of the population, influence more than 70-80% of all purchases in a household and by next year, their income will top a staggering $18tn.

Connecting and building genuine, long time loyalty with this demographic means demonstrating that your company believes that championing women is not just good for business, it’s good for society.

Young men can turn on the television and have an abundance of choice when it comes to role models, particularly when it comes to sporting idols.  That opportunity is largely missing in women’s sport and there lies the opportunity.

Brands should be looking at ways in which they can support women’s sports and influence their growth. It won’t guarantee wall-to-wall media coverage but, if cleverly executed, it can provide a powerful platform around which they can connect with the very women buying their products.

Just look at the impact of the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign if you are in any doubt about the power of engaging with women in a way the truly connects and that makes them feel understood. It goes without saying that women will feel more connected and supportive of companies who champion their interests and that in turn will be reflected in the bottom line.

Before anyone thinks that I’m telling brands they’ve got it all wrong by focusing on men’s sports, I’m not. Men’s sports are much more developed and, as a result, offer scale and impact that far outweigh anything that can be done today in women’s sport, bar few exceptions.

I’m only highlighting that, by shifting a fraction of budget to women’s sport, the benefits will be substantial:

  1. The cost of entry, compared to men’s game is much lower
  2. It’s a relatively untapped space which means that a brand can shape and own it. Where else is that possible?
  3. It will be a powerful statement to your employees. People want to work for companies whose values are aligned with theirs.  If you’re sponsoring women’s sport or a female athlete, what message does that send to your organization about the importance of equality and empowerment?  Think your female employees will notice?  I can assure you they will and they’ll feel an enormous sense of pride in their employer.
  4. Ultimately, women are much more likely to develop affinity with a brand that they feel supports their interest and celebrates their accomplishments.

Am I saying that women’s sport has all the answers? No. Am I suggesting that it’s right for every brand, regardless of the sector or target audience? No. But am I suggesting that all brands should be asking if investment in women’s sport should be part of the portfolio? Absolutely.

So next time you’re looking at how sponsorship can impact your business, I’d make sure women’s sport is on that list.

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