In order to thrive and enable change, our cultural brands need to have a deep-rooted understanding of the people and community they are designed for. We create youth brands, which build from and evolve culture, leveraging multimedia, digital technology and networks.
This is why Girl Effect’s teams always conduct formative research to understand the experience of being a girl in her culture from her perspective and those around her. We design bespoke research to unearth insights relating to gender, culture (including visual identity using methodologies such as semiotics), audience and media. These isolate and tightly define the role, look and feel of each brand, and the media mix we employ in market to reach our audience.
For example, research finding for our most recent brand - Zathu in Malawi identified a real gender divide between how girls and boys are perceived and treated as teenagers. This divide is further pronounced in Malawi because platonic, mixed gender friendships are not valued in society by the older generation. Therefore, a key strategic role of the Zathu is to positively promote the mixed gender friendship as a way readdressing the balance and forge a more equal society.
Armed with this insight, we created the premise for Zathu - a group of girls and boys coming together to create ‘a new sound’ for Malawi – and brought it to life in formats and media that is most accessible to our audience: music, radio, drama and clubs. In designing the central Zathu band characters, we included boys as well as girls, which celebrates and promotes the notion of mixed gender friendship.