Listen to the Multi-Minders


Research shows most women do it at least 10 times every five minutes. What is "it?" Multi-minding: mentally juggling a complex mix of family, career and self-care decisions at any moment, with little time for commercial messages to seep into the mix. With everything on a multi-minder's mind, you'd think she already has enough to keep her busy. Not so.

I predict female consumers will take on an increasing role with brands and businesses-the next women's liberation movement when women will co-manage brands with the official brand manager, business owner or marketing director. This partnership will exist with brands that dare to let go and share the steering wheel with consumers. Sound implausible?

The Web enables everyday consumers to be more involved in business. Where once there may have been a desire to connect, there is now that same desire coupled with tools that enable connectivity, especially with women.

Just like real-life relationships take time to build, it takes time to build trusting relationships with female consumers. Unfortunately, the traditional brand-management system, which assigns managers to a brand for a year or 18 months, doesn't seem to have a vested stake in long-term relationships with consumers. In that case, relationship building can be institutionalized through communications agencies (advertising and public relations, usually) that stay with a brand longer.

The explosion of mommy sites and blogs is a prime indicator of women engaging businesses and brands. From highly trafficked sites like and to fast-growing sites like and, women express their viewpoints on everything from pregnancy to politics, and on every product imaginable. They will tell a marketer or business owner anything they want to know with sometimes brutal honesty.

Whether you like it or not, women are taking control of brands and businesses that mean something to them. That phenomenon inherently implies marketers and business owners are then losing a significant degree of control.

Not only is losing some control of your brand good, but it's inevitable if your brand or business is to succeed in the future. Consumer voices and participation add insights to product development, marketing and product advocacy.

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