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To Connect With Women, A More 'Purposeful' Path For Advertising

94% of women do not identify with the advertising that targets them
94% of women do not identify with the advertising that targets them
Fernando Goni

SANTIAGO — In Chile, 94% of women do not identify with advertising directed at them: this is what market research firm Adimark showed in a study published in August 2018. That means brands are failing to connect with their target gender in the context of modern-day reality.

Very few firms understand that a brand with a clear purpose works better than a firm with only goals of profit. They find it difficult to see the brand as a business in itself. For that reason many marketing decisions are taken with a short-term perspective. There is no time to change the way things are done, or understand that it is not interactions, but shared values, that change relations. Which means no time is given to redefining the way you truly connect with women through advertising.

A woman walks by a street advertisement — Photo: Timon Studler

Considering the above, one inevitably looks at the United States as a reference in this area. Jim Stengel, formerly head of global marketing for P&G (Procter and Gamble), believes people don't buy what you do, but the reason why you do it. Female buyers thus no longer establish ties with a firm's products or services, but with the values and vocation it projects. Those values are what advertising ultimately expresses, both in form and content.

Always, P&G's sanitary towels brand, defined a cause or mission, going beyond a campaign to boost sales: it encouraged girls worldwide to accept failure as fuel to generate confidence and move forward. P&G's #LikeAGirl campaign is based on the fact that 50% of girls during puberty report being paralyzed by fear of failure, while 80% feel that society's pressure enhances their fear of failure and prevents them from trying new things. Failure frightens women too much.

People don't buy what you do, but the reason you do it

The success of this branding strategy was in managing to connect with women at the deepest level, far beyond one product.

Another great example is Dove, whose brand proposal also goes beyond selling personal hygiene products. Dove focuses its branding work on helping boost women's self-esteem. In recent years it has also connected with girls through the #SpeakBeautiful movement, which encourages women to use social networks to say positive things about themselves and their peers.

Microsoft, one of the world's most relevant tech brands, has also jumped on board. In 2016, on International Women's Day, the company paid homage to great female inventors. How? Through a video, in which girls were asked if they knew of great male inventors. They all named more than one, but when asked about great female inventors, they knew of none. School, they said, only taught them about male inventors. This was Microsoft's way of showing that we live in a male-dominated world, though it also presented women behind a series of inventions that have, unbeknown to millions, changed the world.

If 94% of women do not identify with the advertising that targets them, it is simply because there is no purpose behind it.

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Paying tribute to the victims of the attack in Kongsberg

Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA
Carl-Johan Karlsson

The bow-and-arrow murder of five people in the small Norwegian city of Kongsberg this week was particularly chilling for the primitive choice of weapon. And police are now saying the attack Wednesday night is likely to be labeled an act of terrorism.

Still, even though the suspect is a Danish-born convert to Islam, police are still determining the motive. Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Danish national, is previously known to the police, both for reports of radicalization, as well as erratic behavior unrelated to religion.

Indeed, it remains unclear whether religious beliefs were behind the killings. In an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassens said Bråthen has already confessed to the crimes, giving a detailed account of the events during a three-hour interrogation on Thursday, but motives are yet to be determined.

Investigated as terrorism 

Regardless, the murders are likely to be labeled an act of terror – mainly as the victims appear to have been randomly chosen, and were killed both in public places and inside their homes.

Mathiassens also said Bråthen will undergo a comprehensive forensic psychiatric examination, which is also a central aspect of the ongoing investigation, according to a police press conference on Friday afternoon. Bråthen will be held in custody for at least four weeks, two of which will be in isolation, and will according to a police spokesperson be moved to a psychiatric unit as soon as possible.

Witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

Police received reports last year concerning potential radicalization. In 2017, Bråthen published two videos on Youtube, one in English and one in Norwegian, announcing that he's now a Muslim and describing himself as a "messenger." The year prior, he made several visits to the city's only mosque, where he said he'd received a message from above that he wished to share with the world.

Previous criminal history 

In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated theft and drug offenses, and in May last year, a restraining order was issued after Bråthen entered his parents house with a revolver, threatening to kill his father.

The mosque's chairman Oussama Tlili remembers Bråthen's first visit well, as it's rare to meet Scandinavian converts. Still, he didn't believe there was any danger and saw no reason to notify the police. Tlili's impression was rather that the man was unwell mentally, and needed help.

According to a former neighbor, Bråthen often acted erratically. During the two years she lived in the house next to him — only 50 meters from the grocery store where the attacks began — the man several times barked at her like a dog, threw trash in the streets to then pick it up, and spouted racist comments to her friend. Several other witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

The man used a bow and arrow to carry the attack

Haykon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA

Police criticized

Norway, with one of the world's lowest crime rates, is still shaken from the attack — and also questioning what allowed the killer to hunt down and kill even after police were on the scene.

The first reports came around 6 p.m. on Wednesday that a man armed with bow and arrow was shooting inside a grocery store. Only minutes after, the police spotted the suspect; he fired several times against the patrol and then disappeared while reinforcements arrived.

The attack has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms

In the more than 30 minutes that followed before the arrest, four women and one man were killed by arrows and two other weapons — though police have yet to disclose the other arms, daily Aftenposten reports. The sleepy city's 27,000 inhabitants are left wondering how the man managed to evade a full 22 police patrols, and why reports of his radicalization weren't taken more seriously.

With five people killed and three more injured, Wednesday's killing spree is the worst attack in Norway since far-right extremist Anders Breivik massacred 77 people on the island of Utøya a decade ago.

Unarmed cops

As questions mount over the police response to the attack, with reports suggesting all five people died after law enforcement made first contact with the suspect, local police have said it's willing to submit the information needed to the Bureau of Investigation to start a probe into their conduct. Police confirmed they had fired warning shots in connection to the arrest which, under Norwegian law, often already provides a basis for an assessment.

Wednesday's bloodbath has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms — the small country being one of only 19 globally where law enforcement officers are typically unarmed, though may have access to guns and rifles in certain circumstances.

Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert and professor at the Swedish Defence University, noted that police in similar neighboring countries like Sweden and Denmark carry firearms. "I struggle to understand why Norwegian police are not armed all the time," Ranstorp told Norwegian daily VG. "The lesson from Utøya is that the police must react quickly and directly respond to a perpetrator during a life-threatening incident."

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