The Significant Study

Bauer urges brands to reflect on the changing face of Australian women

Advertisers are failing to keep pace with the evolution of Australian women with two
emerging ‘codes’ redefining what it is to be a woman in 2018, according to exclusive
new research from Bauer Media.
The results of ‘The Significant Semiotics Study’ shows that while Australia remains a
conservative country when it comes to the presentation of women, there are two
emergent semiotic codes ‘Bold & Brave’ and ‘Free Agent’ that are increasingly
representative of Australian womanhood today, but which are being largely
overlooked by marketers.
Bauer, in partnership with leading brand strategy agency The Lab interviewed
thought leaders including academics, social commentators and business leaders;
carried out semiotic analysis of TV, film and social media and content across a
number of categories from FMCG and finance to luxury and high street fashion and
then explored the findings with female consumers aged 18-24 and 34-45.
The progressive ‘Free Agent’ is the newest semiotic code revealed by the analysis.
Rather than being about womanhood, the Free Agent recognises the importance of
humankind with women participating equally alongside men and being
unapologetically themselves. Liberated from self-doubt and cultural norms, women
have moved away from being engaged in the struggle to having already won the
battle. Realness, honesty and doing things for yourself are celebrated.
Brave acknowledges the societal change toward protest such as the #metoo
movement but recognises women’s need to take individual paths to protest. It also
demonstrates women as embracing positions of power and authority to achieve
positive change.
Rounding out the four semiotic codes are the more traditional and dominant
‘Woman’s Touch’ and ‘Inner Girl’ which are being recycled by some Australian
brands in new and exciting ways.
On the back of the research Bauer Media is launching ‘Speak Her Language’, a
series of content and creative workshops with Story54 to give marketers a deeper
understanding of how to connect with the new identities of Australian women by
leveraging The Significant Study insights for more effective campaigns.

Jane Waterhouse, general manager of Story54 said: “The Australian woman
continues to evolve and yet this is not reflected in how brands are communicating
with this important half of the population. This research shows that women now see
their status and position in society very differently from even five years ago and it’s
crucial that marketers keep up with this change.
“Bauer continues to invest to provide our partners with the latest trends and research
on the Australian woman. Ultimately our goal is to help brands have a more
progressive representation of Australian women in advertising, to keep pace with
what’s happening around the world”.
The Significant Study is the latest finding from Bauer Media’s ongoing Female
Futures initiative which revealed that the key global trends driving us towards a
better and a more equal future for all.