Dateline Spain

I am often asked if what we learn about women in the US is true for women of other cultures. Speaking this week at a major conference in Barcelona, hosted by the Associacio Empresarial de Publicitat, and doing a retail walkabout on the streets, here’s what I believe: our consumer styles may differ but we are bonded by values and spirit.  

Street chic? Score one for Barcelona. Technology at retail? They win too with a table-side credit card machine in restaurants. Love their care for conservation with public restrooms with automatic light shut-off, (though they may be blowing the savings by lighting up every pretty building facade once the sun sets!) 

But at the cash register, unlike our American appetite for ‘urgent or else’ service, the Spanish style is much more laid back on both sides of the counter. As someone said to me, “Here, the customer isn’t first.” But since customers seem to accept the pace, I didn’t see the retail turmoil so common in US stores. 

But what was the same was the emotional global head nod of women, feeling the same tug between family and work, the pride and stress of trying to do it all, the half truths and whole truths we tell about our age, our looks, our weight and our never-ending quest for a little time alone. Twice, texted audience questions (from men, I assume) asked “What about men? Don’t they have a key consumer role too?” Sure they do. And it’s not so hard. Listen. Listen to the voices of the women in your lives, in your stores and in your companies. They have the power and it’s packing a worldwide punch.

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March 27, 2023
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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