As the world is in relentless transition, so are the material and conceptual systems in the society that will pursue evolution to cater to the need for their continued existence. Such is the case for the escalation of gender-neutral marketing in recent years.
Most businesses before put heavy emphasis on marketing their products based on gender. There has been a so-called ‘pink and blue divide’ as marketers tend to work on the assumptions of stereotypes. This gendered marketing harmed men, women, and individuals who identify as gender fluid. Instances where products are targeted toward one gender imply that an individual who deviates from that norm is not accepted.
This continues to perpetuate stereotypes and leads to increased discrimination toward the members of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, this preceding context has been amended in recent years due to the cultural shifts spurred by the younger generations that are primarily concerning social justice and equality. Businesses now partake in gender-neutral marketing as it creates new possibilities for the customers. In addition, it is more inclusive and more reflective of the prevailing changes in society.
What is Gender-Neutrality Marketing?
Gender- neutrality marketing is a strategy utilized by businesses to become more inclusive and to promote social justice and equality. Currently, the market has already seen the prevalence of gender-neutral products and marketing in cosmetics, and clothing, among others.
There was also a significant change in how businesses hire their models; brands are now hiring diverse models regardless of their gender, body types, and race or ethnicity. For this reason, customers find this sense of inclusivity more appealing.
The rise of gender-neutral marketing was also a result of the acceptance of the Generation Z of gender neutrality. According to Pew Research, Generation Z is more knowledgeable in terms of gender-neutral concepts, which causes them to give more value to a person’s individuality and uniqueness. Thus, this sense of social justice has big implications on how companies present their products in the market.
Advantages of Gender-Neutrality Marketing
As the marketing industries continue to shift away from gendered marketing, it is better attuned to the demand for equality and the changes in society that are primarily advanced by the younger generations. Below are some of the advantages of applying the strategy of gender-neutrality marketing:
Gender-neutral marketing reduces the sense of estrangement to the customers who prefer non-binary messaging. It primarily creates a more inclusive environment for everyone where they can view or choose products free from the constraints of gender. In addition, this allows marketers to know more about their target audiences, which is a great advantage in establishing a strong brand image based on the customers’ and marketers’ values. Furthermore, this may also give rise to a significant improvement in the preferences and brand consideration of the customers.
To sum up, both the customers and marketers may share the same sense of inclusivity, as gender-neutral marketing enables them to recognize the importance of neutrality.
The method of advertising that was prevalent throughout the twentieth century, known as gendered marketing, is considered a harmful approach to advertising. The reason is because it promotes and creates a sense of segmentation and stereotypes toward gender.
Moreover, it also fosters a detrimental idea that men and women are not equal and that someone who deviates from the norms of gender should not be accepted. Additionally, this strategy of marketing creates stigmas concerning gender roles. Thus, it does more harm than good in the market industry, especially to the customers.
On the other hand, gender-neutral marketing presents the idea that gender is not just a matter of pink and blue; it is a more fluid concept that is a part of a larger spectrum. It provides a more diverse approach to marketing, allowing them to understand the gender spectrum and support people’s varied gender identities. Moreover, it raises awareness about the importance of gender neutrality and the harmful effects of stereotyping not just for individuals who identify themselves as non-binary but also for men and women.
Social values and customer context are important variables in the decision-making process. For this reason, companies whose brand positioning is aligned to the values of the customers and know their target audiences are more likely to be included in the brand preference of most customers in the market industry.
Furthermore, in today’s society, the younger generation takes greater notice of more inclusive companies, especially when making purchase decisions. That being the case, companies who are championing gender-neutral marketing are reaping the rewards due to them being more gender-inclusive.
Companies may also maximize the gender-neutral stance of the younger generation, as they make up a large chunk of the consumer market. It would be profitable and sustainable for them to standardize their gender-neutral marketing strategy.
Brands Going Beyond the Stereotype
Transitioning from traditional marketing is a very challenging task for companies. However, this move could be advantageous for those companies who want a sustainable strategy that can last for a long time. Below are the leading brands that primarily employ gender-neutrality marketing:
1. Calvin Klein
Before Calvin Klein adopted a new marketing strategy, it suffered from criticisms like many other clothing brands. Thereafter, the brand appears to be moving toward a more neutral and inclusive stance in its marketing.
In 2020, the brand re-launched its gender-neutral fragrance, CK for Everyone, which was a product in the past with lesser success. However, the improved version comes with new content, such as its eco-friendly packaging.
Consequently, Calvin Klein also initiated a campaign promoting self-love and self-acceptance. Furthermore, it took a step further by launching a Global Pride Campaign which aims to promote gender-neutral clothing while featuring members of the LGBTQIA+ community by giving them a chance to share their personal stories of self-love and acceptance.
The move of Lego towards gender-neutrality marketing primarily focuses not just on surface-level issues. Instead, the focal point of its current marketing strategy is to explore the complex underlying issues of gender stereotypes.
To address this, the company conducted an in-depth study about gender-based biases. The result of the study indicates that gender biases start forming at an early age, making them more difficult to address later in life.
Thus, Lego decided to develop a mechanism addressing this issue. Instead of labeling its toys as ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys,’ they now categorize their products by age, themes, or interests. In addition, they are also planning to establish a new gender-neutral design for their products, emphasizing the female creators.
In 2018, Collusion was launched exclusively on ASOS. It is a clothing brand that puts inclusivity and affordability at its forefront. It was driven by the unwavering values of its members and customers towards gender neutrality.
Ultimately, it is clear that gender-neutral marketing can be beneficial to companies, as well as to the customers who value the sense of inclusivity and diversity. It is advantageous because it moves away from gender stereotyping while raising awareness about the importance of gender neutrality.
In digital marketing, a company or agency must have certain values with which their customers can relate to building trust and connection. Infinity Web Solutions is a digital marketing agency in Batangas, Philippines, which embraces diversity and inclusion in its teams. It strives to create an environment where customers and marketers undergo more gender-neutral digital experiences while providing its services and advocating for social justice and equality.