As we got closer to International Women’s Day this year, I realised my feelings toward the day had changed from years gone by. Rather than feeling excitement, optimism and hope, I felt bored, jaded, and annoyed.
We have seen an increasing number of businesses opt to not only get involved in IWD each year, but actively seek to capitalise on a day that is not about their event, product or service. It is about (hopefully one day, but potentially not for 300 years) having women on equal footing with men in all aspects of society.
With branded IWD content flooding my inbox and appearing on all social media platforms, I began to ask myself - what are these businesses hoping to achieve?
What is the purpose behind this content?
If the purpose is purely to sell a product or service, IWD is not the day to do it. IWD is an opportunity for authentic, useful content - an opportunity for businesses to show how they are walking the talk. Not posturing, and definitely not baffling content about how the men in your workplace are great allies to women.
Case in point: Venture capital firm OneVentures put up a now deleted LinkedIn post celebrating the achievements of men…on International Women’s Day. As you would expect, the backlash was swift.
Those who create inauthentic content run the risk of not only being called out for it; but creating their own reputation crisis.
There are plenty of ways to create genuine, interesting content which adds to the conversation on IWD in a constructive manner. If businesses take the time to get it right, their followers will reward the effort.
As you would expect, Lenovo’s International Women’s Day 2023 campaign nailed the UN’s 2023 theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equity.” Lenovo’s ‘Claim Your Voice’ campaign highlights the abuse female gamers experience online through the in-game voice chats with male players. As a result, some female gamers disguise their voices with AI voice changing software in order to be accepted by male players and avoid harassment. While the stats aren’t out on this ongoing campaign just yet, it has been received well online.
Conversely, tokenistic content without an authentic purpose can be spotted with ease and often causes businesses to become social media pariahs.
Next year, I hope businesses consider how they can use their content to show the concerted efforts they are making to reduce the gender pay gap, enable new parents to return to work, and provide opportunities for young women to not only learn, but flourish while at work.