Empowering women’s sports: unlocking the marketing potential

Last week, Vicky Stickland, Regional Director for Asia, took to the stage alongside Kaveri Khullar – VP Consumer Marketing, Mastercard, Chiradeep Gupta – VP, Global Head of Media & Digital, Personal Care and Global Integrated Media Lead, Unilever and Sinead McEvoy – Head of Events & Partnerships, Aon, to discuss how brands can use the power of women’s sport to drive their marketing effectiveness.

We’re all aware that Women’s Sport is a powerful platform, but how can we better use it to embrace inclusivity, authentically connect with our audiences as well as drive commercial returns?

We heard from Aon, Mastercard and Unilever on the ways they are changing the landscape through strategic partnership initiatives. Some key learnings from our discussion:

Be Bold. Go all in with your strategy.

Kaveri Khullar shared Mastercard’s approach to partnerships and the importance of making an early decision. “We don’t wait for mainstream validation to come through”.

We have the opportunity to shape the narrative when it comes to women’s sport.

“If you can’t see the problem, you can’t change the problem” was the takeout from the discussion with Unilever’s Chiradeep Gupta, referring to their recent ‘Breaking Limits’ campaign which aims to combat the fact that less than 1% of girls in India play football. Through challenging norms and driving awareness of the issues, brands have the power to re-write history.

It’s a space for innovation and doing things differently

Aon have long been making waves in women’s sport, supporting the LPGA and driving gender parity through their own IP of the Risk Reward Golf Challenge. Women’s sporting properties want to show up differently, and partnering with the likes of an LPGA has provided greater opportunity for innovation.

Purpose and profit can co-exist, women’s sport is a valuable opportunity for marketeers.

“It’s not just the right thing to do. It makes for good economics” – Khullar. Societal impact is crucial for brands invested in women’s sport and is a key performance indicator. However it also provides a platform for brands to tap into new audiences and consumer bases they haven’t traditionally. Brands need to better recognise their ability to use women’s sport to not only create social change, but also as a vehicle to achieve commercial viability of their business.