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FEMINISM: It’s still an F-word for marketers and retailers

Ujwal Arkalgud, EVP & Group Director at Lux Research

Ujwal Arkalgud

EVP & Group Director, Anthropology

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Jason Partridge

VP, Client Success

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Welcome to “Why Meaning Matters”—a Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In episode five, Erin continues with the mini episode arc around the topic of the changing meaning of gender and why it matters to organizations. Bringing femininity and masculinity into the conversation she asks how C-suite executives like CMOs can dig into how relevant it is to what they do.

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Welcome to Why Meaning Matters. A Story Studio Network podcast hosted by Erin Trafford with MotivBase cultural anthropologist, Ujwal Arkalgud and MotivBase president, Jason Partridge.

In episode five, Erin continues with the mini episode arc around the topic of the changing meaning of gender and why it matters to organizations. Bringing feminity and masculinity into the conversation she asks how C-suite executives like CMOs can dig into how relevant it is to what they do. Take the ‘gender reveal party’ as an example. UJWAL [00:03:27] “Let’s take retailers as an example, they all do a lot of promotions around pregnancy, right. And they’re all these cultural events, like the gender reveal party that has been a huge part of how retailers go to market in order to, you know, obviously make more money in specific moments in time in people’s lives. So how do they, how do they re-examine the role of the gender reveal party, starting with the traditional colors that are used to denote the gender to even the fact that you need some sort of a gender reveal party.” Events like gender reveal parties tie into our changing meaning around maternity and motherhood as well. Ujwal shares another example of a tangible translation of feminism into the world of business and marketing; a meaning that has trickled down into how healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies market and deliver products and services.

UJWAL [00:06:08] “If you take the meanings around pain and chronic pain, you will see a whole narrative, what we call a microculture, a whole microculture of meaning around how chronic pain is treated differently for women than it is for men. And, one of the reasons for this is that women are culturally expected to live with pain, literally because they’re going through it every month, but also because generally, because they’re going through it every month, there’s an expectation that, uh, pain is part of the livelihood of a woman, which isn’t in the same way for a man.” Jason says that a word like ‘feminism’ is not just a word. It can be a very loaded term and the word doesn’t always capture its evolving meaning. Equity, fairness, an even playing field, and more are being represented by this word. JASON [00:08:02] “What we’re now starting to see is, is that that is the shift that is starting to take place. That is the expectation or the demand that is not just coming from women. It’s coming from men as well. It really is coming from, again, dare I say, this enlightenment that we need to go beyond an individual word to really understand what it means and get to a place where we can find that connective tissue that’s making things better for people, whether or not that’s people that are buying our things or whether or not that’s people in our organization.” Jason shares an example of how organizations are future-proofing their businesses by embarking on this learning experience to get to know what womanhood and the changing role of feminism mean, allowing communication and marketing to follow cultural changes. JASON [00:11:29] “When I started working in advertising, I remembered working on a CPG brand. And you know, one of the first things I learned is that if you worked in feminine care, if they were doing a product display, they would dip the tampon, but the liquid had to be blue. And it was blue for years and years and years because God forbid, we actually think about what this thing is supposed to do.” Erin sets up the next episode with the notion of women CEOs running their businesses on the feminine cycles and emotional energies. Stay tuned for episode six of Why Meaning Matters. A podcast produced by Story Studio Network and iContact Productions for MotivBase- Decoding implicit meaning behind what people talk about.

If you want to contribute to the conversation, make sure you drop us an email at hello [at] storystudionetwork [dot] com. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to SHARE it, RATE it, and SUBSCRIBE to the show!

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