This women-first spin on the classic dating app is a nudge encouraging women to take center stage in their romantic endeavors and beyond. We spoke to Louise Troen from their Nordic marketing corner.
Let’s dive into the topic of dating apps! In the digital age, the intricacies of how people communicate is evolving at such a rapid rate that it can be difficult to even attempt to keep up. It’s hard to imagine that only about 30 years ago, there were largely only land-lines and suitcase-sized computers available to the general public. And beepers. Remember those? Dial up? Anyone…? Furthermore, those who have studied or are studying anything related to communications and media will know that by the time any kind of documentation or analysis like a textbook has been published, it has already been rendered useless or completely outdated by new developments.
So how does technology effect the way we communicate, then? When it comes to romantic connections, apps like Tinder and Bumble have added a new dimension to the “dating game”. Instead of meet-cute-type situations portrayed in romantic comedies or on the TV show, Friends, (yeah, calling out the most popular sitcom in history – what about it?) collectively, we decided to literally and figuratively take matters into our own hands and swipe our way to victory in the game called love.
In case you missed it, Bumble is the app where women are the only ones allowed to make the first move. Coming from a business perspective, we spoke to Louise Troen, their VP of marketing and communications, about the basics of the app, how to market their concept and what’s next in terms of business growth. Oh, and we also included a bunch of photographs from their celebratory women-only event in Copenhagen back in March, in honor of International Women’s Day and the theme of their app as a whole. Spoiler alert: it was awesome.
Hi Louise! First of all, how did you end up in Denmark? You’re from the UK originally, I believe? What’s that like?
So, I’m half Danish but was born in the UK. I moved to Denmark to study at the University of Copenhagen when I was 22 and then moved back to London following that. I’ve actually always felt more Danish than English, because I spent all my childhood summers in Skagen, and all my fondest memories were in Denmark. I was also really close to my Farmor who has always been my biggest inspiration in life. Sadly she passed away a few years ago, but she was always the ultimate social butterfly and taught me some incredibly valuable life lessons around humility, perspective and the value of joie de vivre.
You’re the VP of marketing and communications for Bumble. How did you get your start, career-wise? What lead you to where you are today?
Prior to Bumble, I worked in brand communications, helping to position and communicate the messaging and value of brands such as Uniqlo and Converse. Before that, I lived in Los Angeles where I was a talent publicist for various individuals. My career has spanned music, fashion and technology and my passion lies within strategic communications and brand positioning; delivering successful campaigns within an ever-growing crowded consumer market. At Bumble, though, I work in tandem with the US to develop and deliver global campaigns that have universal resonance, and are globally consistent with our brand USP. I’ve always moved around in my career – focusing on the brands, movements and messages that I love – it’s helped me to stay focused, passionate and ultimately deliver strong work.
How would you describe Bumble to someone who didn’t know what it was?
Bumble is a social networking app with over 50 million users worldwide that empowers women to make the first move in dating, friendship and business. Bumble was founded with a mission to empower women, end misogyny and hold people accountable for their actions online. On all three platforms: Bumble Date, Bumble BFF for platonic connections and Bumble Bizz for professional connections, women make the first move and initiate the conversation. Not only does this increase safety for our community, but it also levels the playing field as women are able to set the tone of the conversation from the outset.
Basically, we believe in equality for all people and actively support women’s rights, eliminating the gender pay gap, and empowering women to live life on their terms. Bumble also has a zero-tolerance policy for misogyny and harassment of any kind and we are committed to encouraging healthier, happier relationships in every aspect of your life.
So, in your job, working with an international mindset, what is most important for you to keep in mind?
Respect for local culture and life is integral to the work we do. Our role is to add value to people’s lives and open people up to opportunities they may not have had otherwise. In order to do so, we have to navigate, understand and engage campaigns that play into the nuances of the market, which is different in every country. We never use a blanket strategy across different markets – we always take an anthropological and sociological approach to ensure that we implement Bumble into everyday lives in an organic and authentic manner. One of our core values is respect, so it would be counter-intuitive to not implement this in our internal strategy too.
Where do you see the app developing as technology evolves and how do you think it effects women, if at all?
For Bumble, it’s not necessarily about keeping up with the ever-changing technology landscape. Our most important drive for development has and will always be based around what our users need. They are the reason we make improvements and continue to grow. We heard from our users that they loved using Bumble to find friends, so we created a platform just for this in 2015. We often had requests for a friend-finding feature from users who were moving to new cities or on vacation. So BFF was the first step to expanding Bumble into a social networking app. After we launched BFF, we saw that many of them were meeting and starting business or connecting professionally, which lead us to launch Bumble Bizz in 2017. Our community of over 50 million amazing men and women will continue to help shape us and their feedback is integral to our innovation.
What makes Bumble unique?
As a social networking app, what makes us unique is our values and that we channel these into all we do both externally and internally. Kindness, respect, equality and accountability are not just words, they are our mission and our goal to hopefully instill into society and the way we connect with one another.
Have you heard any funny or outlandish stories about people who use the app?
We have thousands of people reaching out to us daily to tell us their stories – stories about amazing dates, successful business meetings, to funny stories about their opening lines. Our team will always respond and help every user, whether we buy a success story dinner (which I have done several times!), listen to a pitch from founders who met through Bizz, giving people tips on how to get the best out of their bio, or even sending them flowers if they had a bad date!
What is the best tool for marketing Bumble – is it more about humor, sentimentality, sex, art, etc.?
The truly incredible thing about Bumble is that all of our marketing is centered around our mission and values. Our teams around the world are actively focusing and prioritizing activations and initiatives that can help shift the dial for gender equality. An example of this is a campaign that we recently launched in our EMEA markets called “The Female Film Force”, which aims to close the gap on gender inequality in the film industry by offering a grant of £20,000 to five female filmmakers, writers, directors, etc. to create the stories made for women, by women.
Do you think there are more subliminal benefits to Bumble as an app? As far as the way that women speak first – do you think this is shifting the way that the “dating” paradigm goes?
We have grown up in a society that teaches us that men must go after the women and women should wait for the man to do so. By putting women first and in the driver’s seat, we have put them in control and they are able to set the tone of the conversation. Our approach encourages women to feel empowered by choosing to make the first move which has flipped the stereotype on its head, and over 50 million people have embraced it!
Do you have any advice for girls or women, either in dating, career, or in general?
I am a big believer in trusting your instincts – if your gut is telling you that there is something wrong or missing, it is there for a reason. The second would be to always keep a hustler attitude – don’t take no for an answer and continue to challenge the status quo. Courage is only reached when risks are taken and possibility is pushed – I will always encourage my team to take bold decisions. Even if they don’t go to plan, it’s the only way to learn, evolve and keep pushing our creative limits.