Leo Burnett study reveals women's feelings about their homes

MUMBAI: A recent global study - "Playing House" - done by Leo Burnett has revealed how North American women feel about the home and their role within it. The study, which was conducted by LeoShe (a Leo Burnett consulting unit dedicated to unlocking new thinking about female consumers) identified several key insights shaping women's attitudes toward the home today.



One of the significant findings of this study was that, despite their increasing role in the workplace, the home remains a defining factor for women. Women are becoming more dominant inside the home, not less, despite the fact they are taking on more roles outside the home. The agency uncovered several insights that reflect this paradox:

    Many women today describe their role in the home in business terms -- chief operating officer, managing director, etc.,

    Almost 60 per cent of women strongly agree that what it takes to properly care for a home is undervalued in today's society,

    Sixty-five percent strongly agree that it is possible for women to balance a successful career with a successful home,

    When asked what they most want to change about their homes, 60 per cent of women surveyed said "their husbands."



Leo Burnett USA's LeoShe unit co-founder and senior vice president and senior planner for the agency Denise Fedewa attributed this trend to a reluctance by women to relinquish control over the home realm.

"In one way or another, all women feel strongly about their role in the home, even if they remain steadfastly dedicated to their career roles," said Fedewa. "Women relish the control they have over their home and the freedom they have within it to be creative. Despite the added demands this may put on her, she is in control and she takes pride in this."



Another significant finding was that women fit into four specific home "mindsets" or types, based on their "homemaking" standards (whether or not they are idealistic or more realistic) and how they feel they live up to them (whether or not they see themselves as achieving their standards or not).

These four prevailing home mindsets include:

    The "House Proud" woman (37 per cent): This is the largest segment, comprised those women who consider their home a source of personal pride and joy. (Example: Martha Stewart),

    The "Treading Water" woman (29 per cent): These women are at the opposite end of the spectrum. They consider their home another burden in their already overburdened lives. (Example: Roseanne Barr in the sitcom Roseanne),

    The "Keeping Up With the Jones'" woman (12 per cent): This small but growing segment strives for perfection, viewing her home as a status symbol and a sign of success. (Example: Annette Bening's character, Carolyn Burnham, in American Beauty)

    The "Keep it Simple" woman (22 per cent): This segment has a whole different sense of perfection, choosing to live by realistic, practical home standards. (Example: Debra Barone in Everybody Loves Raymond)

"Many women are overwhelmed with the amount of work needed to maintain their homes, particularly those who have idealistic standards and strive for a picture-perfect home," said Fedewa. "By recognising and accepting their home mindset, these women -- and their loved ones -- can start taking steps to make their lives a bit easier."

A website - http://www.leoburnett.ca/leoshe - has also been created where women can log on and find out their "home" mindset and view tips for each profile. This has been developed by Toronto-based behavioral consultant Patricia Katz. The website also contains more background on the "Playing House" study and additional findings.

The "Playing House" study findings are the result of research conducted by a joint team from Leo Burnett offices in Toronto, Chicago, Miami and Puerto Rico. Over the last 10 months, the team culled existing research, literature, advertising and film, consulted various experts, hosted online husband panels and interviewed more than 1,000 women from cities across North America.

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