Brands have been focused on engaging female consumers for some time now, and with good reason. Women have truly impressive purchasing prowess—$5 trillion to $15 trillion annually, according to consumer research by Nielsen.

What many brand leaders are missing, however, is that even though women have been controlling the purse strings, men are shopping more.

That means branding and design of packaging, seasonal retail themes, product attributes, etc. don't merely have to engage women: They need to do it without losing the men.

Branding for women can be people-inclusive. Here are the five characteristics that can make it so.

1. It's past pink

Turning everyday products "pink" has been the default shortcut to attracting women for decades now. Who doesn't remember the first pink cell phones and how much fun it was to finally have a color option?

Though many women do love pink, keep in mind it is actually the color option that holds the appeal rather than the specific color. If you have the shelf space to offer color options, mix it up with red, orange, or blue.

In addition to color options, however, products created specifically for women deliver benefits that are meaningful in everyday life. For example, offering a lightweight version of a product in a variety of color options will appeal to women but likely will bring the men along too, because both can benefit from the new features.

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image of Megan Stephens

Megan Stephens is president and partner of Willoughby Design, a brand strategy and design firm with offices in Kansas City and San Francisco.

LinkedIn: Megan Stephens

Twitter: @MegaPop