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Boss LadyHow Three Women Entrepreneurs Built Successful Big Businesses in the Mid-Twentieth Century$
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Edith Sparks

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Gender as Brand Management

Gender as Brand Management

(p.147) 4 Gender as Brand Management
Boss Lady

Edith Sparks

University of North Carolina Press

Lewis, Beech and Rudkin positioned themselves in distinctly gendered ways relative to their products and their customers. For each one, their marketing messages changed over time, moving toward a more stereotyped presentation of themselves. All three played a role essential to their brand identities—Lewis as housewife, Beech as hostess and Rudkin as grandmother—that was a gendered idea leveraging the femaleness and femininity of the company leader to imprint its product with a particular emotion, value, and promise for mid-twentieth-century consumers and customers. Each of the brands promised quality, but since this claim no longer was a point of distinction for most companies by the middle of the 1900s, all three businesswomen used gender to feminize their delivery of quality and in so doing to distinguish themselves from competitors. It was a complex and even contradictory identity for women at the helm of big businesses in the mid-twentieth century, one that revealed women’s restrictive roles even as it advanced the trajectory of their brand management.

Keywords:   Brand management, Marketing, Gender stereotypes, Feminize quality, Gender as quality

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