When talking about marketing to parents, there is a lot of talk about mom. As the household decision maker in most households, most brands tend to target mom when it comes to family goods and services. But, that’s only half the battle. In today’s market, dads are quickly gaining a much stronger presence in the household. Gone are the days of dad as breadwinner and mom as homemaker. Millennial parents are more likely than previous generations to embrace a partnership parenting style. According to our research, 82 percent of first-time fathers feel they share childcare responsibilities evenly with their significant others.
This means that brands need to take note and embrace the following “dad truths” because it could shape the future of their success with Millennial Parents.
Millennial Dad Truth #1: Dad’s are snowflakes too
Just like the general Millennial and Millennial parent populations, Millennial dads are not all the same. Brands that market to them as such will quickly lose Millennial dad loyalty. A recent study from CEB Iconoculture that surveyed Millennial men with kids under the age of 18 created four distinct segments of fathers:
Provider Dad: Old school mentality, seeks to demonstrate his familial love by being the primary breadwinner
Socializer Dad: Always on the move, seeks out physical and social interactions with friends and family
Achiever Dad: Affluent and well-educated, dual focus on his career and family
Blender Dad: Manages household and kid, most likely to parenting solo or in a blended family
While there is a Millennial presence among all of these segments, the most Millennial-heavy are Socializer Dads (40 percent Millennials) and Achiever Dads (38 percent are Millennials). Brands connecting with these fathers are featuring men who have a focus on their career but are not afraid to goof around and have good ol’ fashion fun with their families.
Millennial Dad Truth #2: Millennial dads feel a lack of identity when they are transitioning into their new role as father
For women, having children essentially completes a cycle. Most times, they feel very comfortable transitioning into motherhood (even if they are terrified before it happens), it ultimately feels natural. Men, on the other hand, tend to have a harder time with the transition and often get lost in the gray area between life before kids and life after kids. According to research from DDB, one in four Millennial dads agree with the statement, “I’ve lost my identity because I am a dad.”
When we talk about Millennial men, we are talking about a population of men that are extremely concerned with their self image and what that means for their personal identity. According to Wayfind, a quarterly e-magazine published by WD Partners, 38 percent of Millennial men consider themselves to be fashionable and trendy compared to only 16 percent of Boomer men. They want that image and that sense of identity to transition with them as they step into fatherhood. This provides a huge opportunity for brands that can help new fathers bridge that gap and enhance their sense of self as a father and an individual.
Millennial Dad Truth #3: The days of doofus dad are gone
Traditional advertisement strategies targeting parents typically portrayed dad as a bumbling idiot – if they were even portrayed in an advertisement at all. During the majority of sporting events between 2007 and 2009, men were virtually never shown in a positive light in more than 1,400 commercials. In fact, less than 2 percent of commercials showed men in a domestic role or having an emotional connection to their children. This marketing tactic does not fly with dads today.
Millennial Dads are confident fathers and do not want to feel like they are being mocked by the very products they use every day. Not to mention, women believe in their husbands and want to see them portrayed accurately in advertisements. Research from the Dad2.0 Summit indicated that a Millennial woman was more likely to favor a brand that showed an attentive father.
Even though men may be from Mars and women may be from Venus, it is imperative for brands to represent both men and women in advertisements geared towards families. One of the greatest lessons we can learn is that there is power in accurately portraying the “real” family. What some brands don’t understand is that by targeting either Mom or Dad, they are missing out on the other one. Keeping a collective mindset about family dynamics will keep brands on the upswing of Millennial parent brand love.