But hyping good works isn't going to cut it. In fact, Popcorn maintains that obvious hype of any kind is anathema--that success will increasingly hinge on companies finding subtle, quiet ways to achieve trust and intimacy with consumers.
Popcorn's premise: The public's deep disillusionment with the state of the world, "the establishment" and consumption is causing working women and men to "cash out"--meaning that they opt for simpler, less cluttered lifestyles and flee from ubiquitous marketing messages.
At the same time, heightened awareness of social responsibility and corporate behavior means that people are recognizing that every purchase has consequences beyond the transaction.
The transition from a consumer to a citizen mentality in turn means that "bringing on a dash of corporate social responsibility" is no longer good enough, in Popcorn's view. To compete, companies will have to go beyond symbolic gestures and even beyond commitment of money to causes, and weave "goodness" into their cultures as a fundamental intent.
Furthermore, they'll need to "whisper," rather than shout, their brands' value to customers and prospects. How? By helping to improve the community and simplify life through their services.
Popcorn also stresses that while disdain for hype and a yearning for simplicity and core values are pervasive, women are even more fed up than men, according to BrainReserve's studies.
All of which, says the consultancy, underscores the "eight truths of marketing to women" as laid out in Popcorn's 2000 book, "EVEolution."
Here are some of those points, with added comments from Popcorn:
Everything matters. You can't hide behind your logo.
"Trust happens when you're open about your actions and act with a conscience," says Popcorn. "Companies today need to add a fifth "P" to the marketing mix: policy. Marketing to women isn't just about value. It's about values. There is enormous power in communicating your 'ethical ingredients.'"
Market to her peripheral vision, and she will see you in a whole new light.
"Women don't bond with brands that market to them in an overly aggressive way," Popcorn reemphasizes. "Women tune into multiple channels, scanning, hearing and seeing the world on all levels. A brand needs to appear on the periphery, in the natural settings of her daily life--showing up unexpectedly, helpfully."
If she has to ask, it's too late.
"In this world of prolific consumerism, if a product is disappointing, another, more satisfying option is immediately available," observes the trend analyst. "If women have to go out of their way to track you down, and your attitude is 'take-it-or-leave-it,' they'll leave it."
Go to her, and secure her loyalty forever.
"The watchword is convenience," Popcorn stresses. "Look not only at what your brand offers to her, but in terms of how, where and when it's offered to her. Provide a service in going to her, not just a solicitation."