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Women are looking for common ground....

Their relational brains need a starting point from which to launch a possible long term connection with your brand. So, the question becomes: are you laying the groundwork for this to happen?
Do the stories told and images used in your marketing materials result in a familiar connection with your prospective customers? Do customers experience your ad campaign or web site and think to themselves: "That woman in the ad reminds me of my best friend." or "I can relate to that couple's struggle to save for their child's college fund."
If not, how can you help people pictures themselves with your brand?
Stuart Elliott's recent New York Times piece (reg. required) covers one company that is doing just that with a new ad campaign (created by Luckie & Company) - Region's Bank in Alabama. The people in the ads are holding snapshots and envisioning their life goals - not bags o' money, but a second house on the water, for example. As Elliott puts it:
"The photographs are intended to bring the 'big picture' idea to life, demonstrating that Regions bankers can help customers achieve goals that may be only somewhat tangible today."
I've always been a big fan of the creative use of human-scale snapshot-style photos (as evidenced by one of my earliest-ever posts about the long gone "Love Mercedes" campaign, and another post about an outdoor clothing company's web site), and Region's looks to be cleverly using them to tap the emotion of big dreams while inspiring the rational end of things - saving and investing. Elliott, again:
"The campaign is indicative of efforts by marketers to engage consumers with advertising by seeking to make emotional connections as well as rational appeals. To differentiate themselves from each other in a crowded market place, more banks and other financial institutions are augmenting their left-brain messages .... interest rates, loan terms, lists of services like free checking and no-fee A.T.M.'s .... with right-brain pitches like the 'What's your big picture?' campaign from Regions Bank."
Successful marketing campaigns manage this balance of the left and right brain, the linear and the relational, or the line item facts with their lifestyle relevance. The Region's effort delivers common ground that women, as well as men, can build on.
Shared dreams and images draw consumers in, and the bank gets the chance to tell us more about how their products and services can put us in that picture.
Smile for the camera.

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.