jeff-zaslow2 Author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Zaslow will never underestimate the power of female friendships. “Women are very serious about their friendships…they are vested in them, they need them,” says Zaslow. “When women think about their friendships, they are actually pondering every single point of their lives. That’s powerful—I marvel at that.” How does a man gain such insight into the bonds of female friendships? He wrote a book about it.

The Girls from Ames is “a story of eleven girls and the ten women they became” and was inspired by a column that Zaslow wrote on the turning points in women’s friendships. Not surprisingly, the book has become a hit with women readers and a popular book club selection. However, it should also be part of your marketing to women library which is why Zaslow is scheduled to be a keynote speaker during the 7th Annual M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference, April 13 & 14, 2011, at the Chicago Cultural Center. “I do feel an almost urgent need to understand women,” writes Zaslow in the book’s introduction. “That’s mostly because I am the father of three teenagers, all daughters.”

This isn’t the first time we have encountered the power of female friendships. From “Designing Women” to “Sex and the City”, women and their friendships have played an important role in media and advertising–which doesn’t surprise Zaslow who was told by a researcher, “female friendships show us a mirror of ourselves”. For brand executives, that mirror is a very important tool to have in your marketing arsenal. “It certainly gives you a look inside the heads and hearts of women, but it also shows how a woman’s view on things such as pop culture, politics, feminism…changes through the years,” says Zaslow. “It’s interesting to see what prompts those changes in attitudes and what deep-felt values she seems to carry with her from being a ‘girl’ to becoming a ‘woman.’”

It’s those attitudes and values that matter most when it comes to successfully engaging our brands with today’s female consumers. Although the book will inspire you to find new ways to tap into the power of friendships, there are also great lessons to be learned on how your brand can build a real relationship with women simply by following the friendship rules. Here are examples of my own top-line takeaways and some of the brands that are getting it right:

Women value relationships that are real
Dove’s “Evolution”

Women are loyal—and expect loyalty in return
Walmart’s “First Day of School”

Women have a sense of humor
U by Kotex’s “Reality Check”

Women love a good story
Google’s “Parisian Love”

Yes, Zaslow is a man dipping his toes into the female psyche, but his learnings will impress and possibly surprise even the most enlightened of experts on marketing to women—even those who are female. Zaslow writes, “…I think being a man gave me a wider canvas. I was often inquisitive in ways a female interviewer would not have been. I made no assumptions. I asked. I rephrased. I tried to comprehend. On some fronts, my outsider’s curiosity helped enrich the story.”

REGISTER NOW to meet Jeff Zaslow and hear his insights into the power of female friendships during the 7th Annual M2W®-The Marketing To Women Conference, April 13 & 14, 2011, at the Chicago Cultural Center.