How our mission to improve women’s health and wealth is shaping the way we do business
We are Anna and Farrah and together we form A : F – a creative digital agency in London.
We set up shop and worked with clients in everything from finance to F&B, but earlier this year realised how important it was to us to work with clients that were brilliant in business whilst also doing some good for society.
Our existing model worked, being a kind of ‘plug and play’ agency that could offer a full service from brand to build, allowing us to fit into larger organisations to meet their digital needs. We started out as I’m sure many agencies do – by being smart and agile – and gratefully taking the jobs that came our way.
Of course, we want to continue building great digital products and creating brands that resonate with their audiences but we wanted to go deeper. We wanted to proactively reach out to businesses who were improving women’s health and wealth.
OK so why do these issues matter?
Let’s face it, medicine hasn’t always treated women and men as equals. There are numerous reports of medical trials where women were excluded, that as a woman you’re less likely to receive CPR and that on a cellular level we are in fact different. Medical research hasn’t always been funded to reflect female-centric issues and as such women are serially misdiagnosed.
Enter femtech, and the pretty astonishing advances we’ve seen in women’s health innovation over the past 5 years. With awesome startups like Elvie, Natural Cycles, Clue and the Eve Kit to name a few, we’re in a revolutionary era of medicine made personal through our digital devices.
By empowering women, this movement not only supplements an overstretched public health service here in the UK, but can throw the conversation wide open with the use of clever campaigns that destigmatise sensitive subjects. It’s an exciting time to be a part of how this blossoming communication style develops, both as consumers and marketing experts.
Though we love that startups are seeing the opportunity in women’s health, (hello consumer choice! We knew this day would come). The problem is they’re predominantly run by men, if not in the businesses themselves then by those holding the purse strings.
Great initiatives like All Raise exist, yet still only 9% of decision-makers are women. Despite this shortfall funders are slow to encourage change. Only a tenth of venture capital goes to startups with at least one female founder, and this has been the case since 2016.
There is a growing need to help effectively market brands to an exclusively female audience whilst tailoring their business strategy to the (predominantly male) investors who make them possible.
This is where we come in.
We place ourselves in a position to understand a startup’s technical challenges but also offer the soft skills that are essential to achieve a genuine consumer buy-in. We want to help facilitate conversation around products for women, so we can move away from the slightly clunky use of language that currently exists – including the term ‘femtech’ itself – and craft more subtle and appropriate solutions.
Another pain point for most of us – especially if you’re running your own business and don’t have that cushy workplace contribution-matching pension – is personal wealth and savings.
As women we’ll live longer and have more career breaks if we have families, yet few of us have a financial plan in place. This is about sending a message to women that we’ve got to grow the money we have, and start doing it soon.
We’re seeing a lot of talk about Gen X not being prepared for retirement, and women’s pension pots being at a greater risk than men’s of falling short. We’ve been to investment nights for girls and the message is clear, we need to start taking responsibility for our money or face some pretty serious consequences later in life.
Fintech is hugely powerful in how it can affect change in a short amount of time. We’ve seen the disruption of the banking world as a defining marker of this decade. If we can harness part of this potential and target it towards women’s financial independence and financial literacy, then we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
This means freedom in a very real sense that could make a huge contribution to a woman’s sense of wellbeing.
We’re at a real turning point in both femtech and fintech as rapidly growing industries. Femtech is predicted to be worth $50bn by 2025. This is a massive shift in what’s historically been one of the least empowering parts of a woman’s life – her health.
Fintech is still a bit of a boys’ club and we want to help change that. Smart women are seeing the opportunity in platforms like Freetrade, Nutmeg, Dozens and Finimize. We want to see more banking and financial services apps speaking to women directly, not least because we’re just as likely as men to be in charge of all household bills, we’re reported to have 80% of consumer purchasing power, and apparently are we’re better at investing 😉
What else should we be considering?
We’re just at the beginning of this journey.
Great work is being done to speak to women in a voice of respect, humour and from a place of just ‘getting it’, but we want to see more, and with a broader reach. Social determinants underpin many of the health inequalities still present in the UK. So how can femtech companies avoid being perceived as elitist, or their products just for tech-savvy millennials?
Similarly, with wealth inequality in the UK soaring, we want to help promote financial literacy to those who need it most, rather than watch the rich get richer through tech. We’re excited to see services that offer user-friendly financial planning. And then there’s low-cost entry to DIY financial trading – but how can the average woman on the street learn to minimise risk and get her piece of the pie?
Now’s the time to make a positive change in women’s lives through the creative and strategic work we do as an agency. We’re excited for it to lead our business strategy and see where it takes us. We truly believe that when forward-thinking organisations lean in to a female audience it can change all our lives for the better.