This International Women’s Day has arrived to a reluctant audience of women who question its value. On the Sunday before IWD2023, our managing director Parnell Palme McGuinness skewered the clapped-out corporate tropes of IWD in her regular column in the Nine papers.
The column triggered an outpouring of agreement. It seems women are sick of the way International Women’s Day is celebrated and then forgotten – they’ve noticed that the same lines get trotted out in the speeches each year and they feel that those lines don’t reflect the real concerns in their lives.
There is a lesson in this for businesses and advocacy organisations. Since the invention of the hashtag as a way to organise information on Twitter, “hashtag days” have proliferated. Increasingly, the hashtags attached to them are failing to resonate. It takes a lot for something to go viral in a world awash with content.
But there is also a deeper issue here: people are tiring of businesses and organisations which hop on board popular movements but stop short of contributing to change in a meaningful way. Empty hashtaggery is dismissed as unhelpful noise.
Instead, people connect with organisations that demonstrate they are doing something to put their slogans into action. For communicators, that means that it is more important than ever to create something substantial.
This can take the form of a robust policy reform paper with actionable recommendations to take to policy makers, or it might be championing a reform proposal until it is adopted by government.
From a client perspective, it helps to be clear on what you’re trying to achieve. Ideally, this should be more than just “being more visible”. Businesses and organisations which deliver value to their target audiences and markets will outshine those that try to build a one-sided relationship based only on growing market share.
This, at least, is our conclusion on this pink-themed hashtag day. Happy to hear from you, whether you agree or disagree!