How To Decode the ‘Connection Craver’

Carmichael Lynch Spong recently fielded proprietary research to answer the question, “How are women emerging from the Great Recession?” We found that women, after dealing with the implications of the recession for at least five years, were coping with their new normal in three distinctly different ways. Most women had a dominant coping mindset, along with an evident secondary mind-set. We termed these mind-sets the Creative Controller, Connection Craver and Escape Artist.

In August, I wrote about the Creative Controller. A positive thinker, she’s focused on getting the upper hand on the uncertainty wrought by the economic downturn by controlling all the critical factors in her life: her bank account, her shopping list and her previously cluttered social calendar.

In the second of three articles, I bring you the Connection Craver, a woman overwhelmed by too many choices.

Introducing the Connection Craver.

The Connection Craver is not quite as optimistic or “can-do” as the Creative Controller. With an uncertain outlook on life, she’s seeking authentic, real and familiar products. She appreciates things she knows and trusts. That includes the people in her life.

She needs help whittling her options.

The Connection Craver, more than any other mindset, relies on others to help her cull through the clutter to land on a smart choice. But she doesn’t value everyone’s opinion. She turns most often to her partner or spouse for decision-making input, especially of the financial kind. Next in line are her mom, close personal friends and dad. Why her parents? The Connection Craver appreciates the wisdom that comes with age and experience.

She’s gotta have faith.

While this mindset seeks to connect with others both in and out of her inner circle, she is trying to take the attention off herself and her current situation. She seeks involvement in organizations, including church, to take her mind off her challenges.

Brands are her BFF’s.

Brands truly are her friends. She is loyal to the brands that she knows work and that her family enjoys. The Connection Craver seeks out “heritage brands” that her own mother may have used and connects with the brands in the same way she would real people, following them on Facebook and Twitter. Think brands like Dove, Ivory and Hellmann’s.

Connecting with the Connection Craver.

So how can communicators capture her attention and foster that loyalty? Here are some ways to make that critical connection:

• Acknowledge her circle of influence. Respect those she respects. Elevate your messaging around her partner and parents. Don’t treat them as stereotypes. As many brands have witnessed, when your advertising or messaging positions a spouse as a fumbling buffoon, there’s an online riot and an apology in your future.

• Share and share alike. She not only seeks connections, but also makes them. She’s willing to talk about your brand on your behalf, so help her do so. Offer ratings and reviews so she can see what others are saying about your product or service so she, too, can share her opinions.

• Bolster her brand community. Communicate with her often, surprise and delight her, reward her for loyalty. Give her an active brand community, whether it’s strong customer service, in-store support or brand ambassadors who reinforce your messages.

• Engage influencers she respects. We know from our research that celebrity endorsements are met with skepticism by the three mindsets, but the Connection Craver appreciates it when a brand aligns with a spokeswoman who seems authentic. We kept hearing about the Ellen DeGeneres Cover Girl endorsement. While women thought Ellen may not really use Cover Girl, they all said they felt Ellen was down-to-earth enough that she might.

While the Connection Craver is the smallest-sized mindset we uncovered in research, comprising about 10% of the population, she’s most certainly the one who can drive referral and recommendation. Get to know her.

The final mindset I’ll address has a 180-degree take on products, shopping and coping with reality. Reality bites for the so-called Escape Artist. Find out why in the next installation of our research results. PRN


Maria_ReitanMaria Reitan is senior principal and chair, lifestyle marketing and marketing to women for Carmichael Lynch Spong. She can be reached at


This article appeared in the September 30 issue of PR News. Subscribe to PR News today to receive weekly comprehensive coverage of the most fundamental PR topics from visual storytelling to crisis management to media training.

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About Maria Reitan

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