How Procter and Gamble Wins Young Girls Loyalty with Being Girl
One of the most valuable resources an adolescent girl can have is an online community devoted to teaching her about the things she’s too shy to talk to her parents about. BeingGirl is an online community by Procter & Gamble devoted to articles, videos, and advice columns about such prepubescent topics as periods, bras, acne, and dating. That being said, they also promote products from age-appropriate “friend” brands. BeingGirl has been criticized for capitalizing on that tender time in a young woman’s life, but their blog content does a decent job of balancing helpfulness and product promotion in a sensitive manner.
Almost all of the content on BeingGirl is available without having to sign up. Articles, daily polls, quizzes, games, videos, and interactive articles and slideshows are all available to anyone who visits this brightly-colored blog. Articles like the “Body Guide” and “How to Use a Pad” are free to anyone, and you can rate them without signing up. The only thing that requires signing up is commenting on videos and articles.
There is a “Products” tab with links to both an essentials overview and the separate brands BeingGirl promotes, which are Always, Tampax, Secret, Gillette Venus, Olay Fresh Effects, and CoverGirl. If you click on a specific brand, like Always, there are links to more specific lines, like Always Radiant, and then products in those lines, like Always Radiant Infinity Teen. The product details and sizes are listed, but they do not link to online shopping or suggest where to buy them. However, on the “Free Stuff” tab, you’re linked to P&G Everyday for coupon offers on items like those listed.
There are no forums on this website. The only way to interact with other users on BeingGirl is through the comments. While this may limit user interaction and miss out on a marketing opportunity, it makes for a safer online environment for girls.
BeingGirl is linked to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The icons are featured right next to the header. There is also a banner at the bottom of the page inviting viewers to their Facebook page. However, as of this case study, there does not appear to be a US Being Girl Facebook page, as both the icon and banner are dead links. The YouTube channel seems much more active. While many videos, like “Tampax Training Camp,” are included on both the BeingGirl blog and YouTube, there are some popular YouTube-exclusive videos with sidebar links on the blog, such as the “Period Diaries” videos.
The Twitter page is bright and animated with over 200 colorful photos and videos. Most of their Tweets seem to be focused on promoting products with less emphasis on the types of guides and how-to articles on the BeingGirl blog. However, on June 19th, 2015, they Tweeted that their Twitter page has been closed for good and requested followers start following their sponsor web pages.
At this point, there is no regulation of the Being Girl comment sections. On the blog’s more popular articles, such as “Average Breast Size Information,” the users address one another’s questions with the @ symbol and their usernames with no manager intervention.
There are no brand ambassadors featured on the blog. Instead, BeingGirl uses real girls and age-appropriate actresses in the marketed age groups to endorse products and act in short videos. If BeingGirl did have a brand ambassador, they would most likely be a young, female celebrity popular with young girls, someone these girls admire and aspire to be.
Though the blog has dozens of informative articles, such as “Sneaky Period Protection” and “Ovarian Cysts,” none of them have bylines. There are no lists of editors or authors of the information, making it very difficult to find out who is creating this content. In the “Ask the Experts” section of the blog, users can directly ask BeingGirl experts health questions, like what to do about menstrual cramps. These experts are identified on their bio pages as Health Educator Mary Baldwin Morris and Registered Nurse Elaine Plummer. As of now, they seem to be closed to new questions.
The users seem to interact freely with each other in lieu of a community manager. Since there is no ‘reply’ option, the interaction isn’t exactly efficient, but it does create a dialog among members. While many of the comments are reactive to the article content, there is also a support group among the users. For example, on a popular article called “Teenage Dating Advice,” girls interact with each other in the comments and provide their own advice and anecdotes in regards to the article topic. This is all done by users with no intervention from a community manager.
While the articles can be read independently of the products, the products are often insinuated into the text in a sidebar or photo. For example, in the middle of the article “Period Facts: Your Menstrual Cycle,” there is a “Quicktip” box advising girls to use Always Radiant Infinity Teen Pads for period protection. There is not much of a relationship between the products being promoted and the users. Some of the product details are tailored to girls, but other than that, it is not open for conversation or dialog to users and users cannot comment on product pages.
While BeingGirl is a safe and helpful online resource for young girls with concerns about puberty, it doesn’t offer much in the way of a real community. The lack of forums prevents any real dialog from happening, and the social media pages (besides YouTube) are either out of date or discontinued. The product marketing is BeingGirl’s best asset right now. They’ve found a way to get girls interested in the products without being obnoxious, making it an effective marketing tool, if still an ineffective user community.