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How Brands Are Capturing the New Generation of Parents

Millennial parents are setting new standards when it comes to raising their children, and these brands are making big changes to get their attention and spending power…

The era of Millennial parenting has begun. In 2014, 82.7% of children born were born to a Millennial mom, and a reported 90% of new mothers last year were Millennials. According to Ypulse data, currently 8% of 21-24-year-olds, 20% of 25-29-year-olds, and 49% of 30-33-year-olds are self-reported parents. Last week we did a deep dive on how Millennial parents are setting themselves apart from the rest of the generation, in terms of their mobile, entertainment, food, and physical activity preferences. It is evident that Millennials are reshaping the definition of parenting and have disrupted the industry that has catered new moms and dads for many years. Brands marketing to the new generation of parents need to make sure that their messages, media, and tone are tailored to them. Some smart brands have already begun to take their preferences into consideration, and with good reason. With an estimated $2 trillion in global buying power, young parents are a viable market for brands, and understanding their world is essential for turning the group into loyal consumers. Now that we know how Millennials parents are unique from the rest of their peers, let’s look at what brands have been doing to appeal to this influential, important group:

Making Parenting Tech a Priority

Growing up in the digital era has made Millennials the ideal market for new tech-powered parenting tools. One of the big trends of CES this year was products to ease worries of Millennial moms and dads, like the winner of the Best Startup award, Owlet, a ‘Smart Sock’ that uses pulse oximetry to regularly monitor a baby’s blood oxygen level and alert parents of any abnormalities. To draw these tech-reliant parents into stores, Target has launched a Connected Nursery section that includes baby products from digital startups and tech companies, like a Motorola baby weight-and-length tracking scale and an app linked baby monitor that also measures air quality.

Going Gender-Neutral

Gender-neutral brands have also won over young parents and children. A Kidscreen study that scored 40 entertainment properties based on its popularity, and children’s awareness and love for the brand, found that gender-neutral brands like Minions (which had the top score), LEGO, and SpongeBob SquarePants ranked highest on the final list. The results are in line with the cultural values of Millennial parents, who are teaching their kids how to be open-minded and see other characteristics beyond gender. Last year, Target removed gender signage in their toy aisles, and toy brands have been making efforts to create more gender-neutral, and gender-equal toys.  

Making Value Shopping Stylish

Brick and mortar dollar stores have been thriving with Millennials lately, but “none of the big dollar store players” have been able to make their mark on the e-commerce world…until now. The world’s first online-only dollar store has a specific target, Millennial moms, and they’ve hit their mark. Hollar sells seasonal items, beauty, and toys (its best-selling category) for $2-$5, and has designed their app and website to echo Pinterest’s visual style to make “guiltless buying” feel stylish. The retailer boasts a 50% growth month-to-month, and sees about one million visitors monthly. Of those shoppers, 80% are women, a majority Millennials, moms, or both. They’ve mostly relied on “organic” engagement to spread the word of their services in the past, but have recently been reaching out to lifestyle and mommy bloggers to promote back-to-school season.

Getting “Hip” Design Makeovers

Millennials are design-conscious, and have come to expect that every product can have a stylish aesthetic, from tech (thanks Apple) to food and beyond—and they’re not dropping those standards once they have kids. This year, Fisher-Price named famed decorator Jonathan Adler as creative director in an effort to revive stagnant sales. His first line with the company will debut in 2017, and includes “happy chic” toys, baby gear, infant clothing, and bedding. Adler says baby toys should be stylish because they become home furnishings, and his inspiration stems from a trip to a Millennial mom’s home: “It was a house I worked on…her adorable baby’s not-so-adorable stuff was strewn everywhere. I thought, ‘This is the stuff you actually decorate with, and they could be a lot better looking!’” Meanwhile, Chrysler has given the minivan a “hipper” makeover to “dispel the stigma” of being the kind of car their parents drove.

Extending Parental Leave

Millennials have inspired Coca-Cola to extend its paid parental leave policy. In a blog post earlier this year, the brand announced they would “offer six weeks of fully paid leave to new parents in the U.S.—including biological, adoptive, and foster moms and dads,” affecting about 4,000 employees. An internal group called “Coca-Cola Millennial Voices,” which works to attract and retain young employees, is credited with coming up with the updated policy. The changes fit into the generations’ parenting values: 48% of Millennial parents would take parental leave (13% more than Xers, and 24% more than Boomers).


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