Catering firms reinforce gender stereotypes through marketing

The marketing used by cooking and catering businesses plays to traditional gender stereotypes, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by PH Media Group has found the typical voice profile used by catering firms in their audio branding is female and aged 45 to 55.

The most popular voice is also warm and clear in tone, helping to convey a sense of helpful and devoted customer service.

But audio branding specialist PH Media Group advises catering firms to consider breaking with stereotypes in order to use a masculine voice where appropriate.

“The fact the most popular voice used in catering is female will perhaps come as no surprise, given traditional perceptions of the profession,” says Dan Lafferty, Director of Voice and Music at PH Media Group.

“This is not necessarily a bad thing, as an older feminine voice can be perceived as soothing and welcoming, while also conveying a sense of authority.

“But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be the best fit across the board and companies should use a voice which best reflects their products, customer base and service proposition.

“A deeper, masculine voice can be used to convey professionalism, authority and reassuring so may be equally effective given the diverse nature of many organisations’ client bases.”

The research audited the catering industry’s on-hold marketing – the messages heard by callers when they are put on hold or transferred – to reveal which voice and music is most widely used. The most popular music tracks were corporate and relaxed in style, designed to reinforce a sense of professionalism and the warm welcome provided by their choice of voice.

Many firms opt to use popular music tracks but, due to existing emotional associations, these tracks are often unsuitable in convincing a customer to buy.

“Sound is a powerful emotional sense,” adds Dan.

“People will often attach feelings, both positive and negative, to a piece of commercial music, which will be recalled upon hearing it.

“Placing a piece of commercial music in an on-hold situation, no matter how cheery and upbeat it may seem, is a lottery of the individual’s previous experience of the track. Using commercial music is also a square peg, round hole scenario, taking a piece of music and trying to make it fit a new purpose to convey a message it was never intended to.

“A bespoke music track starts from the ground up, with each element forming or reflecting the brand proposition, and with there being no previous exposure among the client base. The physical attributes of the track – whether major, minor, fast, slow, loud or quiet – are used to communicate emotional meaning, rather than the personal experience of the individual.”