By Fran and Bill Lytle
Since women are the key-decision makers for travel, understanding how a woman processes information, makes decisions, develops relationships and behaves when interacting with travel brands is essential to developing communications that connect with her.
Women want to be “connected with”, not “sold to”. To connect with women, it’s important to understand the emotional, as well as functional, aspects that motivate and influence her behavior.
To gain insights into how to connect with women, Meredith Travel Marketing presents the following article written by Fran & Bill Lytle of Brand Champs, a premier Consumer Behaviorist and Brand Strategy Group that has particular expertise in marketing to women.
— Introduction from Peter Gross, Director, Meredith Travel Marketing
Women behave differently than men. OK, so that’s not a big surprise! What might be surprising, however, is how the decision-making process differs for men and women.
When a man makes a decision, the process is linear — something interests him, then he gathers information, and moves forward to an action. A man is looking for a “good solution”.
When a woman makes a decision, the process is spiral — something interests her, she moves forward to gather information, moves backward to validate why she was interested in the first place, moves forward to get more information, and so on. A woman is looking for “the perfect answer”.
Because of this spiral decision-making process, women synthesize information. She’ll take bits and pieces of what she sees and hears, add her past experiences and overlay it with emotions. That’s why women tell, and enjoy hearing stories.
How can you create a compelling story for her? By crafting the story in a manner that is relevant to her. Since one of a woman’s highest Personal Values is establishing and strengthening relationships, she will respond to stories that enable her to enhance her personal and family relationships.
Think about your brand — its True Product, Personality, and Soul. Weave these three motivating brand aspects into a story that aligns with the permission she gives herself to engage in certain behaviors — like travel. Did you know that women use three different types of permission in her spiral decision-making process for travel?
A woman uses this permission to initially consider engaging a travel brand. She’ll think “That’s just the way I feel”, or “That’s just the way
I want to feel”.
She’ll use this permission to rationalize her consideration, thinking “That fits in with my life-situation”.
This permission is used to validate her decision. Her thoughts will be about value for the money and a variety of things to do.
Addressing all three in the context of your brand’s True Product,
Personality and Soul will result in a compelling story.
How can you reach her with your story in a time, place and circumstance that motivates her to consider entering into a relationship with your brand? By recognizing that she journeys through three phases of travel.
The first phase of travel is Anticipation.
The earliest stage of Anticipation is “Dreaming”. To reach her during the dreaming stage, tell your story in a place where she’s thinking about her life and what’s important to her. Consider media contact points that engage her — ones that she trusts. Telling your travel brand story in these venues can initiate thoughts of travel.
The next stage of Anticipation is “Learning”. To reach her during this stage, consider venues where she will actively seek out information to rationalize her considerations.
The third and final stage of Anticipation is “Booking”. Understanding how and where she most commonly books her travel is an integral story element.
The second phase of travel is Experience.
During this phase, she’s interacting with your brand experientially. This is when she’ll decide if the story you told her meets her expectations.
The third phase of travel is Recollection.
During this phase, she’ll return from her travel and tell her own stories. This is a critical phase for your travel brand. Will she enhance the story you crafted and make positive recommendations? Or, will she share a story with negative connotations? Word-of-mouth from people with whom she has relationships is a trusted source of travel information for her.
OK, now you know the importance of storytelling to women. But do you know why women are such adept storytellers and voracious readers of stories? It’s because women use both the right and left sides of their brains simultaneously. This connectivity, and redundancy, makes it easier for her to synthesize information. This is also why women are so good at multi-tasking.
How does this differ from men? Men analyze information — they look at what they see or read and attempt to understand its meaning by de-constructing. Men search for the “bottom line”. This is because men use only one side of their brain at a time — making them very efficient at focusing.
Another aspect of gender differences that should be embraced in your travel brand story is the role of conversation. For women, the role of conversations is to (1) share information, (2) solve problems, and (3) establish or strengthen relationships. The role of conversations for men is to (1) share information, (2) solve problems, and (3) establish or defend status.
A compelling story that connects with women uses plots based upon relationships. A compelling story that connects with men uses plots based upon competition.
Storytelling and Emotions
Travel brands should also consider the most important emotional drivers for women when making a travel decision:
- Sense of adventure
- Experiencing excitement or liveliness
- Being insightful
- Feeling wise and intelligent
- Feeling caring and nurturing
- Feeling creative
When crafting your brand story to women consider how you can weave three or more of these emotional drivers into your brand storyline. Tapping into her emotional drivers will enable you to build, and enhance, a relationship with her.
Remember, a woman is looking for “the perfect answer”. To assist in her spiral decision-making process, craft a story that embraces the following elements:
- Your brand’s True Product, Personality and Soul
- The permission she gives herself
- The phases of travel she journeys through
- The role of conversations
- The emotional drivers for women
Embracing these elements will enable you to craft and deliver a story to her that is relevant, respectful, and motivating.
About Brand Champs
Brand Champs is a premier Consumer Behaviorist and Brand Strategy group that leads brands in developing strong Relevant Connections with people.
Fran & Bill Lytle of Brand Champs can be reached at 732-356-7035 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
About Meredith Travel Marketing
Especially for travel brands who desire to engage women, Meredith Travel Marketing connects our readers with the travel market; creating family and personal experiences to remember and share.Peter Gross can be reached at 212-551-7051 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit: www.bhgtravel.com