We are chugging right along in our in-depth investigation of understanding the different groups of Millennial parents. However, before we dive any deeper, it is important to bring up the overwhelming trend occurring as Millennials are getting older, settling down, and becoming parents – pragmatism.
You might be thinking, “Well, duh. Of course young adults will become more pragmatic after they become parents, they have more mouths to feed!” We could not agree more. However, their pragmatism stems from a more modern consumer point of view. When new technology is introduced, many Millennials will jump on board because it is the newest technology available. They want to be seen as cutting-edge, always having the most up-to-date products. Millennial parents, however, are not as quick to dive into the deep end. They are more likely to ask questions like, “How will this product make my day-to-day life faster, more efficient, and better?” Millennial parents are more invested in products that will help them solve their daily challenges and help them to be better moms and dads. For Millennial parents, useful is the new cool.
This is extremely true for parents in the Against the Grain orbit.
Against the Grain
The mantra for parents in this orbit is, “I’m still standing.” They are hardworking but still struggle to move forward. Against the Grain parents, like the Image First orbit and many other Millennials, use their cell phones to connect with others but rarely see it at as a form of self-expression. For these parents, technology is often a means to an end or a solution to a problem. Millennials in this orbit tend to go against the grain (see what we did there?). They do not care much about fashion or staying up-to-date on the latest trends, nor are they big believers in the health conscious kick that so many Millennials follow.
Demographically, the Against the Grain orbit has the highest percentage of Hispanics (31%) and is an overall minority majority group. They have more children than the other orbits and, while they have the highest labor participation rate, they are still struggling with unemployment and have many financial stresses that tie them down.
Overall, Against the Grain parents are a study in contradictions. These parents reported that they like to have control over their peers and will often speak their mind when given the chance to do so. However, they are easily swayed by the opinions of others and seek affirmation from friends and family before making major purchase decisions.
Modern Family Goes Against the Grain
Parents in the Against the Grain are more likely than parents from other orbits to notice brand-name products in their favorite TV shows. In February, the popular sitcom, Modern Family, aired an episode that was filmed entirely via Apple products. Clair was stuck at the airport and connected with her family through texting, FaceTime, email and more. While on the surface this is the highest form of product placement, given the plot of the episode it seemed completely natural and on par for this modern family. This type of advertising works well with parents in the Against the Grain orbit, as they are likely to notice the brand and develop a stronger affinity for the products because they enjoy watching the characters use them.
Not everything this orbit does is Against the Grain. It is important to remember that regardless of the specific parent orbit they belong to, these parents are still Millennials. Meaning that while the orbits we’ve already discussed, including Image First, Family First, and Style & Substance, each has individual characteristics, they still embody the holistic generational attitudes and will reward brands that align with them by being authentic.
(For a more in-depth discussion of these five orbits, check out the book Millennial with Kids: Marketing to This Powerful and Surprisingly Different Generation of Parents.)