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The Principles of Marketing to the Modern Family

Business and Marketing Strategy

The term “family” has taken on new and varied meanings. For instance, more and more same-sex couples (both globally and locally) are becoming parents and defining their own family units – with significant opportunities and implications for marketers wishing to tap into this lucrative demographic segment. Given the challenges that all parents today face, and the changing roles they play, how do we hone our marketing skills to capture their hearts and minds?

The brands that are clearly winning with parents as consumers are the ones that show an awareness and understanding of the following principles and rules of engagement:

  • Strive to become the parents’ ally. Regardless of gender or family structure, aim to facilitate their realities and their responsibilities as parents or caregivers.

  • Where possible, create “moments” for parent-child engagement, offline or online. The Kellogg’s Rice Krispies “Story Time” campaign is a great example of this.

  • Avoid making the assumption that the family gatekeeper is always “mom”. Several brands have already seen a backlash for promoting everyday sexism in their communication –including Woolworths, whose recent back-to-school direct mailer assumed that only mothers are involved in packing of kids’ school lunches.

  • Across categories, narrow gaps between family wellness and convenience, adding real value to modern parents’ already busy lives. Knorr’s successful “What’s For Dinner” platform (South Africa’s number one recipe website) illustrates how a brand can meet parents’ growing needs for convenience whilst driving saliency.

  • Reward parents for their patronage – recognising that they are real people first and not solely defined by their role as “mothers” or “fathers”.

  • Be realistic – as we are seeing a huge rejection of brands that over-claim or over-promise on benefits to parents who are increasingly becoming marketing savvy.
In essence, it’s all about “realness” and authenticity. As the needs of the Modern Family continue to take centre stage, we will see more brands aligning themselves to the realities of new family dynamics.

From products designed to meet the challenges of single parents (such as dedicated vacation packages for single moms with kids), to more communication built around the “father-child moment” (such as Oreo’s recent and highly acclaimed “Princess” TV commercial), to brands that intrinsically reject outdated and sexist notions of parenting (such as Walmart’s private label brand of baby formula, aptly called “Parent’s Choice”), it is clear that the traditional face of branding and marketing to parents and family caregivers will never be the same again.

Mike dos Santos

The Strategy Department
The Strategy Department, your in-house outsource solution for all your strategic marketing needs. We are an outsource strategy department with the necessary experience and depth to deliver multi-discipline expertise to agencies and clients on an in-house basis.
The Strategy Department is a powerful partner to consider for the development of your Marketing Plans, Brand Strategy, Communication Strategy, Research or Training.

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