Forty six percent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 have at least one child, according to data from the 2012 US census. These emerging millennial parents are relying on personalization to create a more dynamic parenting model. Brands connecting with these new consumers must also recognize the different ways personalization affects millennial parents and how they rely on it to create a stronger sense of self.
As a generation that was once defined by the logos they wore (Abercrombie, Hollister and Aeropostale to name a few) millennials are now tossing their branded identities out the window and are instead pursuing more personalized definitions of who they are. Almost 55 percent of female millennials claim to own a signature item, that is unique to who they are that they will not see anywhere else. This desire is especially strong among millennial parents who are balancing their new identities as mom and dad with their former perceptions of self. As a result, we are seeing millennial parents push for more personalization from brands in order to resist losing their self-identity after having kids.
Personalization is especially taking shape in the way millennials are approaching parenting. Millennial parents are quickly creating unique parenting styles and want to move away from the traditional parenting methods they grew up with.
The typical millennial mom describes her parenting style as more relaxed, fun, forgiving, and aspirational than her Gen X mom counterpart. Additionally, decision-making is now shared between millennial parents and their children creating more of an inclusive family democracy rather than an autocratic rule of the parents. Over the past decade, only 23 percent of mom’s classify themselves as the final decision maker of their family, which is a dramatic shift from the traditional chain of command of the past .
We say it all the time, and we will say it again: the millennial generation is not a homogeneous cohort. Millennials with kids behave entirely differently than those without children. Even more so, understanding the different millennial parent segments (Image First, Family First, Against the Grain, Under Stress and Style and Substance) will allow your brand to tap into the behaviors and mindsets that make each group of parents unique. Brands that create dynamic messages for different family types create an environment of true authenticity and connectivity and generate more opportunities for engagement and conversation.
For example, Image First parents crave personalization to bolster their personal image. However, positioning personalization as a way to stand out among fellow millennial parents will not resonate with a parent in the Family First segment who is more drawn to a holistic view of the family.
Let’s explore this concept through a hypothetical new stroller brand that is only available at Target. This stroller brand may captivate Image First parents by explaining all of the new high-tech features of the stroller. The advertisement would show very fit, trendy parents running with their child in the stroller while all of the other parents at the park watch in awe…with a hint of envy. The Family First targeted advertisement, however, would show a family going to the park together and Mom storing everything she needs in the stroller—there is ample room for a baby bag, her purse, and snacks. In both scenarios the stroller is the featured product, but the shift from bolstering a personal image of the parent to enhancing the image of the family is where we see the difference in messaging personalization for these two different groups of parents.
Millennial parents value individuality and personalization as parenting styles are shifting. Brands must customize their advertisements and outreach efforts to fit these trends if they want to succeed.