July 15, 2014
The bad news for the beltway: They are calling 2016 the election that will be won by women. Not sure who the “they” is, but it’s not surprising that women’s issues are getting more coverage now than we have seen in a long time. The women we speak to every day are skeptical. They don’t believe the answers are going to happen inside the beltway. So is the time right for Hillary to step in and become the face of women’s issues? Or will it come from a more unexpected place—more specifically from a big company.
The good news for companies: Over the last few weeks we have seen that a company—Proctor & Gamble—to be specific is viewed as MORE likely to have an impact than anyone running for office—INCLUDING Hillary Clinton. Between the Pantene’s Shine Strong and Always’ Like a Girl campaigns women are engaged—and hopeful that real change is coming. This is really good news for companies trying to make a difference. Indeed, all of the people we spoke with had more faith that the answers will come from big companies than any policy initiative coming out of our capital. And we have seen this trend coming for some time.
So, here are the specifics from our research:
- Folks believe that P&G’s new women’s campaigns will have a huge impact. Voters believe real change is going to happen by the people - and even from companies through these types of campaigns. SO, what P&G is doing with their Pantene and Always campaigns can (and is) having a real impact. That surely is a sad statement about our government. But a huge complement to P&G. (see ads here Always Like a Girl and Pantene Shine Strong)
- If Hillary can’t do it, can anyone? Trust in our government is an all-time low. And despite all of the talk about women's issues, voters think it's just lip service and idle chatter. They don't believe the government can get anything meaningful done. And they sure don’t think that they are acting in the best interest of the people. To voters, all the elected officials are saying what they need to say to get elected. And they don’t see Hillary as any different. That said, if she starts communicating better – she might just have a shot.
“Why should I believe anything that anyone says in DC—even her. I haven’t seen any real change come from a politician in the last decade. They just want our votes.”
--Participant, New York
- What Hillary says about women that works. When Hillary uses her story to illustrate that she understand what women go through and struggle with: read: “in 2008 they made fun of my coat during a debate” – she becomes relatable. And that is the first step in establishing trust. I say FIRST step for a reason. She is going to have to do a lot more than be relatable to prove that she is going to deliver.
“I would just like to see a bit more of THAT [more authentic and human] side of her. So often she feels like a robot.”
Participant, New Jersey
It’s hard to believe how much things have changed since 2008. 2008 we saw trust in business at an all- time low. And now, people are at least open to believing that companies can have an impact on some of the biggest issues of the day—from women’s equality to the environment. And everything in between. Between now and election day in 2016 it’s going to be interesting to watch how this plays out. I wonder who will win the women’s hearts. Will it be Hillary? Or Pantene.