In the spirit of promoting change, understanding the value of cultural differences is more than just high-brow thinking – it’s fundamental. Here’s a good example of how communications must be finely tailored to be culturally aware and gender sensitive if they are going to be effective.
What women think about pregnancy – a universal theme often taken for granted – is a great microcosm for examining women’s values, concerns, appetites. In a recent Opinions article in The New York Times, there was a telling illustration of just how women from around the world respond to the life-altering force of pregnancy. Using google searches, the author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, tracked the most searched-for questions and quandaries.
The insights gained could prove fascinating for companies seeking to change behavior patterns by directing consumers and communities toward more sustainable practices. When “better for you, your baby, your environment and future generations” meets values, habits, cultural preferences and fears – things get pretty colorful.
For example, questions about “How to XX during pregnancy” lead to some rather stark contrasts from one culture to another. In practice, this would mean that a common message to expecting mothers can land in very different ways depending upon where it makes contact.
How women can have sex while expecting topped searches worldwide. In the case of Indian women, it landed in three of their top five concerns. All others interviewed were keen to know how to have sex, but also had other interests.
Following sex-during-pregnancy, the next two most prominent concerns were how to lose weight (South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, Britain and the US) and how to avoid stretch marks (US, Britain, Australia, South Africa).
On the behavior front, dietary concerns such as drinking coffee, tea, beer and wine, were complemented by questions regarding access to and the wisdom of using over–the-counter pain medication while pregnant.
Given the magnitude of change that current economic, climatic and social conditions are undergoing worldwide, it’s essential to know how best to trigger constructive response to your communications about any topic.
A fuller understanding of what is on women’s minds during those times in their life when they are most empowered, frightened and confused, can make your messages effective – while ignoring wide variances in cultural leanings and viewpoints can lead to neutral response, or worse.
Knowing how women worldwide feel about pregnancy is an intriguing, good start. Same for all other milestones in life.