I have never been the kind of girl to participate in a variety of sports related activities. As a matter of fact, I was always the accident prone teen who was banned from playing sports in high school as a preventative measure towards myself and from a liability stand point for the school. So I did not have the misfortune of being associated with doing things “like a girl” in relation to leisure activities but the stigma is still all too familiar to me within other aspects of my life. Girls all over the country and quite likely worldwide are faced with similar experiences of people trying to dissuade them from achieving their best. What if one company could change the way society perceives young girls? What if there was a way to put an end to all the stereotyping? This is an account of how the brand ‘Always‘ by Procter & Gamble rose to the challenge and created their #LIKEAGIRL social media campaign to revolutionize the way society views adolescent girls, thus changing the way they engage with their customers.
What does it mean to be a young adolescent girl in society today? What stigmas surround them in various aspects of their lives? In order to improve its engagement with its customers, Always had to think outside the box of traditional product marketing and change the focus of its advertising strategies. If they were to service their customers better and succeed in this campaign, they had answer these two key questions. According to Frank Eliason, Global Director of Client Experience at Citi, “Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs and making sure the company recognizes the opportunities they present”.
Their marketing experts found that a “Girls’ self-esteem drops twice as much than boys’ during puberty. Moreover, women never regain the pre-puberty level of self-esteem. Understanding why this happens was key. Even reducing the drop a bit would mean allowing girls to start the ‘journey into womanhood’ from a better place.” They realized that gender stereotypes have a huge impact on girls during their early teen years and our society’s perception of girls as not being good enough to accomplish certain tasks in life could directly affect their motivation and self confidence.
The #LIKEAGIRL campaign was launched to break these gender stereotypes and at the same time connect to their customers on a much more personal level. They hosted a fake casting-call with young boys, girls, men and women and asked them to act out their interpretation of the phrase “like a girl”. Their findings were surprising to say the least. The men, women and boys acted in a “silly and self-deprecating way, acting out the insulting stereotype. But prepubescent girls reacted completely differently. They ran and fought as hard as they could, with confidence, pride and incredible self-belief. They had clearly not been influenced yet by the ‘rules’ that define womanhood; for them, doing something ‘like a girl’ meant doing it as best as they could.”
The Always marketing team focused on getting maximum exposure for the video with the help of various social media platforms. YouTube was the main outlet while they ran posts on Facebook and Twitter to increase outreach. They used the hashtag “#LikeAGirl as a call to action and asked women to tweet the amazing things they do ‘#LikeAGirl’. We also created a #LikeAGirl page, hosted on Always.com, to serve as a campaign hub. Furthermore, the campaign included PR/ER activation through e-influencers and top media. Finally, a 60 seconds version of the video aired during the 2015 Super Bowl.”
Lessons for Others
The #LIKEAGIRL video has since been “viewed more than 9o million times and shared by over 1 million viewers. Men and women all over the world joined the brand to help reclaim ‘like a girl’ as a positive statement. During the campaign use of the #LikeAGirl hashtag skyrocketed on social media and also in the real world, including displays and programmes at schools … Many celebrities took on the hashtag … Before the campaign, the expression ‘like a girl’ was mostly used in a derogatory way. Since the launch, it’s been attached to overwhelmingly positive sentiment, becoming a symbol of female empowerment around the globe…”
In three months Always changed the negative connotation “like a girl” into a positive one. “It also drove unprecedented earned-media coverage. Furthermore, purchase intent and brand preference increased significantly as a result of the campaign. Finally, millions of people, including many celebrities like Gloria Steinem and George Takei, joined Always in its mission to change the meaning of the expression ‘like a girl’, turning it into a symbol of female empowerment all over the world.”
Feel free to visit the following link for more information on how they measured their success in this social media campaign.
In a society where doing things “like a girl” has always had a negative implication, Always created and launched a social media campaign that not only exposed the true nature of the connotation but set about finding ways to empower young girls in a time when they need it the most. This campaign changed the way Always as a brand engaged with their customers. Many women in society today have now gone on to challenge the traditional stereotypes in society through determination and have found success in many male dominated top corporate positions. Beyonce, one such role model for any young girl says it best in her song ‘Run The World’, “Who run the world? Girls!”.
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Name of Organization Contact: Tim Penner, President
Authored by: Marelle Pint
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
- Claveria, K. (2015, June 4). Why customer engagement matters: Inspiring quotes from 9 business leaders. Vision Critical. Retrieved February 4, 2016, from https://www.visioncritical.com/why-customer-love/
- Always #LikeAGirl – Marketing Magazine.co.uk. Marketing Magazine. Retrieved February 4, 2016, from http://www.marketingmagazine.co.uk/article/1366870/always-likeagirl
- Always Home Page. (n.d.). Always.Retrieved February 4, 2016, from http://always.com/en-us
- Soundcloud Page Search. Beyonce Run the World (Girls) Chime for Change. (n.d.) Soundcloud. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from https://soundcloud.com/beyonceradio/beyonc-run-the-world-girls
- The Facts anout Girls in Canada- Canadian Women.org. (n.d.). Canadian Women’s Foundation. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from http://www.canadianwomen.org/facts-about-girls
- Always #LIKEAGIRL Commercial. (2014, July 1). @Always- #LIKEAGIRL Campaign [Video]. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un8Xjh1R6cU&feature=youtu.be
- Always #LIKEAGIRL – Super Bowl XLIX. (2014, June 26). Always #LikeAGirl [Video]. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs
- Women CEOs of the S&P 500- catalyst.org. (n.d.). Catalyst. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500
- Girls Who Run The World Lyrics- Metrolyrics.com. (n.d). Metrolyrics. Retrieved February 7, 2016 from http://www.metrolyrics.com/girls-who-run-the-world-lyrics-beyonce-knowles.html