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Fifty Shades of Womenomics


16 August 2012

Two words. It’s only two words. Fifty Shades. 

It’s been some time since two words have ignited animated conversation, knowing nods, smirks, wincing, eavesdropping and ‘Oh my gawd, I’ve heard about it ... Should I read it?’ [and it’s probably the reason why you chose to read this blog].

Fifty Shades refers to British author EL James’ book trilogy based on a relationship between a young female college graduate and business magnate chappy. Nothing terribly notable about that ... except for the whole dominance/submission, bondage/discipline, sadism/masochism thing. 

They are just books. It’s just a story. But the power of womenomics has turned them into a global phenomenon. Womenomics refers to the supply and demand of women as employees, consumers, investors, board members and business owners. In the case of Fifty Shades, women are both the Number One Consumer and Promotional Agent Extraordinaire. 

The first book in the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, has sold over 31 million copies worldwide, topping best-seller lists around the world and the rights being sold to 37 countries. It was the fastest selling paperback in history [move over Harry Potter]. 

Regardless of what you think of the book, it has tapped into the power of womenomics. 

Women are talking about it and our opinion clearly matters when you look at the significant sales results and recognition the author has achieved. 

Yes, it’s saucy and titillating. 

Yes, it’s frustrating and intriguing. 

Yes, it’s controversial and significant in that it is providing a contemporary reference point for new conversations about old issues of free will, female submissiveness and servitude and male domination. 

If you don’t like it, your friends and family will buy it to discover why. 

If you love it, your friends and family will buy to discover why. 

If you’re interested to find out what all the hype and fuss is about, you will buy it to discover why. 

Clearly the decision to buy Fifty Shades is not black and white ... it is in fact grey. If you try to pinpoint the reason why 31 million copies have been sold, you might as well boil it down to curiosity killing the cat. 

The sales results and the speed in which this was achieved has been driven by a global word-of-mouth frenzy that is showing no signs of slowing [especially with a movie in the pipeline]. 

And it shows that our opinion matters and in this case, our opinion is profitable. 

But at the end of the day, they are just books. They are just a product. 

So, what are your Fifty Shades of Womenomics? How are you:

—    Contributing to and leveraging word-of-mouth to drive sales?

—    Harnessing and rewarding recommendations and referrals? 

—    Providing new ways to talk about old problems?  

—    Allowing women to be curious about what you do?


Fifty Shades reinforces the dominance women have as consumers and as ‘make or breakers’, as we continue to crack the whip on informing purchasing decisions simply through our opinion and personal endorsement.