It's only a matter of time

07 Aug 2005|Added Value

Time, it seems, is of the essence for South African women. And not just the time measured by the ticking of biological clocks. According to strategic marketing and consumer insight consultancy, Added Value South Africa, women are feeling the pressure of time poverty and are looking for ways to make each second count.

More women than ever are expressing a need to “own” or reclaim their time says Alison Tucker, Added Value’s Managing Director.

“We are busier than ever,” she says. “As South African women we have to juggle our myriad traditional identities with our contemporary roles as mothers, career women, house keepers, girlfriends, wives, daughters and singletons, while trying to find time for the PTA, the community, the gym, our faith, and a good night out with the ‘sisters’. We place increasing value on our time.”

Even in the workplace, women are articulating a desire to be either self employed or to work from home. Women want careers that can be multitasked with life.

For marketers looking for ways to grow their brands and businesses, says Tucker, products and services that SAVE time, TAKE time and facilitate a little ME time are those that women are reaching out for.

Quick meal solutions, easier transport, two-in-one hair products, fast food, more efficient banking services, home delivery and one-stop convenience shops reflect consumers desire to skim a little time in their days. And brands that deliver real time SAVING are the best thing since sliced bread – or battery operated styling irons or quick dry nail polish or Woolies pre-packs. On the other hand, warns Tucker, brands and businesses that waste time can really lose out. Fiddly packaging, bad call centre service, long queues and garbled instructions are all things that can turn any woman off faster than a sink full of dishes.

In a society pushed for time, says Tucker, the other opportunity for brands is the value of TAKING time. Brands that talk of patience, quality and attention to detail, brands that are ‘slow matured’, ‘hand-crafted’ and ‘tailor-made’ add the valuable commodity of time to the mix. A child’s hand drawn card, an impeccable tailor-made suit for your new job, a 30 year old single malt whiskey and a home cooked meal (even if those pre-packs helped one to cheat!), are all more valuable for the time invested in them, than the sum of their parts.

Tucker adds that as women look to reclaim their time, they are also investing more time in themselves. Women are looking for ME time. Adult education and self improvement courses, life coaching sessions, financial workshops and spa days are just some of the ways women are maximizing and multitasking precious time. The rise of ‘Pamperclubs’, for example, as a replacement for kitchen teas and stokvel savings clubs, shows women collectively “spending” time on themselves, investing in shared indulgence and increasing their confidence and sense of self worth.

Tucker points out that marketers who take the time to understand how women own and divide their days can discover a wealth of opportunities for their brands and businesses. “Gaining insight into how she gets to work, when she has the time to shop, when she wants time for herself, what part of her day is precious and how she feels when her time is wasted or when the timing isn’t right can unlock avenues for growth that could keep your brand around for a very long time.”

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