Weekly Recap – February 1, 2019

Ellyn Davidson 01/31/19 - 4:57 pm

Woman sits at a table in a café using a laptop computer.

Real Brands, Trusted

Brands build trust with consumers by addressing them personally, not politely. About half (53%) of U.S. consumers trust big brands, down from 65% in 2016. Words matter. Brands can win favor with the language and tone they use in their ads, according to a University of Oregon study (ScienceDaily.com, 20 November 2018).

+To gauge consumer response, researchers showed subjects ads with fictitious mascots and taglines, and asked whether a brand should be punished for morally ambiguous scenarios, like a company’s treatment of women. Result? Consumers were less likely to trust brands with polite, impersonal messages, and more likely to fault them for business practices they deemed questionable. But when brands spoke to consumers directly, with less polite, more personal language, they were much more forgiving.

Review Differently

Women and men consider online reviews differently. When it comes to online reviews, there’s a surprisingly large gender gap in the way both sexes read and evaluate reviews of local businesses, according to a BrightLocal survey (MarketingLand.com, 14 December 2018). 37% of the guys always check online reviews before patronizing a local business, compared with just 15% of the women. A similar gap exists when it comes to reading business responses to reviews: 37% of men always read responses, compared with 20% of women.

+One of the quirkiest differences between the sexes? 63% of women think businesses should reply to negative reviews, while 58% of men believe responding to positive reviews is more important. The gist? Local businesses have a real opportunity to use online reviews to engage with female consumers, especially if they take the time to respond thoughtfully to negative reviews.

Well Heeled

Millennial women earn bigger paychecks, driving up household income. Millennial women are on a roll. Those who work full-time now earn an average of $39,000/year, up from $37,100 in 2000, according to a Pew Research study (TechRepublic.com, 17 December 2018). That, in turn, drove Millennial-led household income to $69,000 in 2017, more than the 22- to 37-year-old age group has earned in the past 50 years.

+They’re working hard for their money, mind you. 78% of Millennial women work 50 weeks a year, compared with 72% of Gen X women. They’re also stepping up as the primary breadwinners in the household and entering the market as homeowners as well. Nearly 20% of first-time homebuyers are now single women, most of them Millennials, reports Chase Home Lending VP Keosha Burns (Cheddar.com, 14 December 2018). Coming up right behind them: Gen Z women, 40% of whom make their down payments in cash.

+So has the gender gap disappeared? Sadly, no. Women still make no more than 80% of what men do, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and often much less (Bustle.com, 15 December 2018). And though Millennial women may be earning more, they’re also unduly burdened with student debt, compared with older generations.

Good Vibrations

The latest YouTube trend benefits mental health? We’re listening. ASMR has taken the internet by storm. But more importantly, it’s become a healing and coping tool for individuals suffering from stress or mental illness.

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