Your product’s gender and what it says about you.


Yala’s female. If there’s any doubt, her curling purple locks and pink stripes give her away.

And while it’s pretty common for bots to be portrayed as women, Yala’s a rare sight in the wider startup landscape. In fact, most of the established products we use every day seem to have masculine energy.

Take a look at this palette. It’s a top Google result for “masculine color scheme.”

Now, check out these popular websites:

Blue, green, and gray are the most prominent colors on the net. It’s a lot less common to see these traditionally feminine shades:

When was the last time you saw a pink website?

This issue goes beyond color schemes. Masculine or feminine traits seem to be linked with the core philosophies behind products and brands.

Take this following list of characteristics:

Strong will, ambition, independence, assertiveness, initiative, rationality and emotional control.

According to Wikipedia, these qualities are all considered masculine. These so-called masculine traits seem to make up the core philosophies behind most industry-leading websites. Take a look at this verbiage:

“Get more done”

“Create effective marketing campaigns to meet your business goals”

“Make connecting with customers faster, smarter and safer”

They’re all about ambition, effectiveness, rationality — the typical traits considered to be masculine. By contrast, here are feminine traits, again, according to Wikipedia…

Gentleness, modesty, humility, supportiveness, empathy, tenderness, intuitiveness and beauty.

…and here are some rare examples of feminine copy. The core philosophies for these brands seem to go with the feminine traits above:

“Being yourself makes all the difference”

“Simple and beautiful email marketing”

“A beautiful way to interact with humans”

These taglines are gentle and modest. They claim to be simple, or easy, not simplest, or easiest. In other words, they don’t emphasize hierarchy or competition. Instead, they radiate empathy and tenderness.

Masculine/feminine branding can have little to do with the product itself. The same product could easily seem like two different products if presented in both the masculine and feminine.

For example, email marketing can be either simple and lovely (feminine) or automatic and powerful (masculine).

Online forms can either be a beautiful way to interact with humans (feminine) or an effective way to create and analyze surveys (masculine).

The key takeaway is that gender tone matters when you’re trying to differentiate your product in a crowded marketplace. If competitors are offering powerful tools, try offering comfortable ones instead.

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