Motherhood & Marketing: Why are brands missing the point?

How much do brands really “get” Mothers in 2016? How can brands get under the skin and (most importantly) connect with Mothers, in all their diversity? These were some of the interesting and thought provoking conversations at Mumstock 2016.

Saatchi & Saatchi & Mumsnet’s research painted a fascinating landscape of the personas that British Mums identify and relate to. They asked mothers to tell them about the different identities that they identify with. Then created personas and asked women to tell them which ones they identified with and to what intensity, indicating which personas were most important, and how many mothers self identified with identity.

It was fascinating to see how the audience reacted to this with the discussion & debate on how to apply this insightful piece of research really only scratched the surface. Yet conversation did seem to falter when brands were discussing how and where to connect with Mothers. Much of the big brand conversations immediately jumped to discussing marketing solutions that relied on traditional media and broadcast. Yet, every piece of research we saw on the day reinforced that peer to peer and WOM is most powerful and effective for Mothers.

This is a huge missed opportunity for brands. It’s clear that Mothers believe and rely on each other over what they hear from brands. Brands can absolutely be part of this conversation if they add something useful and interesting to the conversation. While traditional advertising will always have a place in communication, it shouldn’t be the starting point.

The organisations & campaigns that are winning are the ones that recognise this. Sport England’s This Girl Can, is a perfect case in point. Only 9 weeks of TV ran across the whole campaign, with the lion’s share of engagement and growth coming through social and digital. Because of this approach they have created a campaign that continues to grow and evolve. With an organisation that clearly has a shared passion with their audience, are able to engage audiences on an on going basis by being relevant and useful.

On the day, the brands that really showed their understanding of the power of community were the smaller brands. Little Dish, Child’s Farm and even the re-invigoration of Boden were incredibly inspirational sessions. They demonstrated how creating and being part of communities that connect around a shared with their audience, both gave them insight into their audience while building brand engagement with their audience. Leveraging brands fans and turning them into an army of advocates that worked for the brand.

The need for brands to provide utility especially to Mothers, was beautifully summed up by Mumsnet’s Carrie Longton. Brands need to focus on using insight into Mothers to really understand how brands can be useful to audiences through their marketing. And the need for Mothers is simple — they are all looking for ways to make their lives easier. Advice, opportunities, help, sharing and creating connections to address common problems are all areas that brands (in the right way) can add value to Mothers lives in real tangible ways. Only focussing on demonstrating empathy and aspiration in Marketing wastes a valuable opportunity to create real, long lasting connection with Mothers.