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Mums have moved on, isn’t it time brands did too?

Mums have moved on, isn’t it time brands did too?

In the past, many marketing communications directed at mums have been misguided, depicting idyllic situations and outcomes that often don't resonate with the target audience and its aspirations. In some cases, the perception still seems to be that mums are living the dream, or at least wish to, with a spotless kitchen and 2.4 children. Certainly, this is a traditional approach, but is it what women really want? In a world where even fashion magazines are realising that using images of "real women" is more appealing, why are some brands selling this overdone and unrealistic dream to mothers and talking at them as if their lives and interests are limited to home, husband and children?

With the explosion of social media, the role of the community manager is becoming increasingly central to engaging with a given target audience. Community managers that are targeting mums must remember that they are savvy, multi-faceted consumers with interests outside of being a mum and should be treated as such. They have high expectations of brands and often they manage the family purse when it comes to the weekly shop.

While the brand message is, of course, critical, the tone of social media communications should not be underestimated. By following a brand, fans have already given it their approval, so content needs to be on tone more than on brand. The proliferation of smartphones means that consumers can access content any time, any place. This means that mums are becoming increasingly brand aware and critical of the patronising tone that some brands adopt.

As women, but mothers in particular, often have a quick five minutes while they are waiting at the school gates or making their way home from work, snackable, sharable and humourous content and images are the ultimate aim of great content creation and the golden egg for community managers. This doesn't even have to be on brand or about the brand; quite the opposite! Varied content, be it nostalgic, topical or simply relevant to the lives of the fans will be far more interesting and engaging than a stream of posts solely about the brand. It's important to remember that mums are often looking to social media as an escape or quick time-filler, and posts that are snackable, relevant to their lives and fun will stop them from hitting the 'unlike' button.

That's not to say that content should never be brand strong, but what the social media population doesn't want is to have products or services pushed at it all the time. Being a fan of a product on social media means, to most parents, and consumers in general, an outward demonstration to their friends that they approve of a brand and that what it has to say on social media channels is interesting to them. Following a brand should allow for an expectation of added value and should be a good mix of interesting information about the brand, and engaging content about other facets of people's lives.

One other learning, as proven by my experience working on Flora, is that women really value being given a voice on social media. Asking them to share their own experiences, knowledge (recipes, pictures) is great for engagement, especially at a point in their lives where they might feel undervalued or unfulfilled. Being able to offer advice on a page where there are tens of thousands of fans is rewarding to them and builds brand loyalty. A simple share of something they have sent in, with a positive note attached, or agreeing and thanking them for their comments on a post can engender great engagement and loyalty. Having a named community manager can also work well for brands. For example, Flora's dedicated Flora mum acts as the social media face of the brand, which is something that fans can relate to.

Adapting these top tips to your online community can make a huge difference to its success, whatever the target audience. In the case of marketing to mums, it's clear that mums have moved on, isn't it time brands did too?

Sophie Clutterham Research & New Business Executive


  • well written and seems to be a very in-vogue topic. Would like to discuss more as we move the Bounty brand forward.
    Ed Axon - 5/10/2012