In November 2007, I wrote a post about a new ad agency, Womenkind, that focuses on women using a unique business model. Now, another agency, Hoffman York, is launching a business unit dedicated to advertising to women called The Kaleidoscope Group. This new agency is the product of three years of research, interviews and reviews done by Hoffman York.
The Kaleidoscope Group released a press release yesterday stating the business unit will work to develop creative advertising that more effectively speaks to the female audience which influences more than 80% of purchase decisions.
Interestingly, despite being formed to address the disconnect between advertising and women, The Kaleidoscope Group does not advertise exclusively to women. The business unit also advertises to men claiming their messages focus first on women and then on men.
I also think it’s interesting that the 11-person team of agency professionals who work for The Kaleidoscope Group includes three men. While that number is not high and provides diversity within the team, what is significant about it is (according to The Kaleidoscope Group’s press release) two of the three leaders of The Kaleidoscope Group are men. In other words, only 33% of the leadership team of The Kaleidoscope Group are women. The middle-management and lower level team members are mostly women though – no surprise there.
While The Kaleidoscope Group sounds like a great idea, I’m still feeling a disconnect. Is it just me or are women not just under-represented in the advertising messages The Kaleidoscope Group claims it can fix but also in The Kaleidoscope Group itself? If women are so important, then why isn’t a woman heading this group? If a company is trying to position itself as understanding and catering to the needs of women, then shouldn’t women be in key positions?
You can read the entire press release about The Kaleidoscope Group after the jump (I couldn’t find a link to the press release on either the Hoffman York website or The Kaleidoscope Group website, so I had to copy and paste it from an email I received from the Hoffman York media department today).
HOFFMAN YORK PROVIDES A NEW TWIST ON ADVERTISING TO WOMEN
WITH LAUNCH OF KALEIDOSCOPE GROUP
— New business unit built on proprietary research findings —
CHICAGO (February 20, 2008) – After three years of intensive research, thousands of interviews and a comprehensive review of best practices in the category, Hoffman York is thrilled to announce the establishment of The Kaleidoscope Group, the agency’s dedicated business unit and think tank to address best practices in advertising to women.
The group was established to address the disconnect between the powerful female audience, who influence more than 80 percent of all purchase decisions and the male dominated advertising industry – more specifically, the creative teams who develop advertising.
Hoffman York Chief Creative Officer Tom Jordan, as well as the agency’s co-directors of strategic planning, Troy Peterson and Elissa Polston, lead the 11-person team of agency professionals dedicated to the art of effectively communicating to women through advertising messages. Each team member offers insights and expertise about advertising to women from past experiences, ongoing client work and involvement in the agency’s research.
“Over the past three years Hoffman York’s research team has been devoted to understanding what types of advertising messages women respond to and how they react,” explained Peterson. “There were numerous theories supporting the claim that women aren’t often influenced by traditional brand messages, but the agency couldn’t find any research specifically addressing advertising to women. So, we decided that in order to answer questions, test hunches and truly understand advertising to women, new research had to be conducted. To our knowledge it is the first research of its kind,” Peterson added.
The agency’s biggest surprise is what it has termed The Times Zero EffectSM. Multiplying any number by zero will always equal zero. It has found the same holds true when advertising to women. If you incorporate even one element into an ad that a woman perceives as negative, the ad will not resonate with her. It’s a zero in her mind.
In addition to The Times Zero Effect, Hoffman York’s research uncovered many segments of women that, not surprisingly, respond in different ways to different messages. Ultimately, the research has helped uncover the many elements of an ad – print, interactive, audio or otherwise – that resonate with women and more importantly, alienate them.
While the group specializes in advertising to women, it’s not exclusively about advertising just to women. While researching the topic, the agency learned there are ways to successfully reach women and influence men, as well. In fact, all of the agency’s research has been conducted in product categories targeting men and women, including home furnishings, home building products, health care and food. What makes The Kaleidoscope Group different is its approach to creating the message – first focusing on women and then men.
“We think it makes sense to pay more attention to how you craft advertising messages so you don’t alienate women,” said Jordan, who oversees all creative development on behalf of The Kaleidoscope Group. “For some products and services, focusing on women can almost double your audience, and if you don’t, you risk reducing it by more than half,” he added.
Jordan is currently working on his second book, “Before you can advertise to a woman you have to walk a mile in her flip-flops…or 20 feet in her Jimmy Choo suede pumps,” which is dedicated to the subject of advertising to women. A chapter of the book, which gives a glimpse of the agency’s research findings, is available exclusively on www.amazon.com.
The Kaleidoscope Group is not just a clever name, rather it’s a representation of what Hoffman York is continuing to learn about women. With each turn of a kaleidoscope, the picture changes. Women are the same way. With each change – a new job, marriage, the birth of a child – a woman’s life changes and so does her perspective and her reaction to advertising.
The bulk of Hoffman York’s research is complete, and the findings have been tested in ads amongst a control group of women; however, the agency has an infrastructure in place for additional testing and research if needed. The group is currently working with several clients and is available to consult on a number of areas relating to this critical target with services including communication audits, strategic development and campaign creation, execution and placement.
For more information about The Kaleidoscope Group or to schedule a presentation of the agency’s research findings, contact Troy Peterson at (414) 289-9700 or visit www.kscopegroup.com.
About Hoffman York
Hoffman York was recognized for creative excellence in 2005 and 2007 with O’Toole Awards. The full-service agency offers a complete array of advertising, public relations and marketing services and is one of the top independent agencies in the country. Hoffman York has offices in Chicago and Milwaukee. The agency’s clients include A&W Restaurants, Advocate Health Care, Arlington Park, Egg Innovations, Focus on Energy, Grainger, Guaranty Bank, Merillat and Quality cabinetry, Milgard Windows & Doors, Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business, Reico Kitchen & Bath, Weber GrillÂ® Restaurant, Wisconsin Lottery and Yamaha Outboards. For more information, visit www.hoffmanyork.com.