Being the Poster Parent: The Social Pressures of Millennial Parenting

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Not so long ago, a common idiom in the English language was used to define the pressure of comparing oneself to others. Keeping up with the Joneses encompassed the societal habit of setting a benchmark for social class and status symbol goods, and if that benchmark was not met — perhaps your car wasn’t the right make or model, or your suit wasn’t purchased from the right department store — socio-economic or cultural inferiority was perceived. This is undoubtedly still an issue in society today, but its scope has evolved.

Thanks to the rise of social media and the depth of its reach into one’s personal life, Keeping up with the Kardashians might be more appropriate.

Social media has both its plusses and pitfalls for Millennial parents

This extended pressure to keep up with the world at large is particularly strong among Millennial parents. Seventy-five percent of parents are active on social media according to Pew, and, unlike other generations, Millennial parents are comfortable sharing anything and everything. While past generations worried about the safety of their children or the exposure they might receive, 88 percent of Millennial parents have never felt uncomfortable about posts regarding their children, even when it is posted by someone other than themselves. And, according to a survey by Gerber, nearly 40 percent of Millennial moms have created social media accounts for their baby before his or her first birthday (another seven percent made one before year two).  

Aside from feeling the need to keep their networks involved in their day-to-day routines, Millennial parents are also heavily reliant on social platforms for learning about what others are up to. Millennials are twice as likely as parents of other generations to rely on the internet for advice and inspiration, and according to our research, the collection of online resources — parenting websites, online forums, parenting blogs and social networks — collectively account for 71 percent of first and second place rankings when it comes to the top parental influencers. And, believe it or not, this generation of digital natives have increased their usage of social media since becoming parents.

While the numbers seem to tell a specific story — that Millennial parents love social media and use it constantly– there is still another story for marketers to be aware of that is just below the perfect social veneer that these parents put on: they are often overwhelmed and need understanding support. In fact, a study by Crowdtap found that 40 percent of Millennial parents find social media distracts them from quality time with their families; nearly 30 percent believe social media makes them more aware of the lack of time, money and resources they have compared to other parents; and nearly 20 percent claim social media makes them more anxious and confused on their roles because of information overload.

What role can marketers play in navigating Millennial parent pressures?

For marketers, the key to resonating with these parents is realizing these pressures and responding to them in an authentic, transparent way.

Specifically, this calls for moving beyond traditional shotgun messaging techniques to more personalized approaches. As Millennial parents are highly active online, brands have an opportunity to provide resources that will help both mom and dad achieve their goals and reduce the friction and anxieties that come with being a parent.

Minute Maid’s “Doin’ Good” campaign was built on the idea that parents are typically too hard on themselves. Advertisements and social posts related to this theme were designed to remind parents just how great they are doing by highlighting the positive differences they make in their children’s lives. At the heart is a digital film featuring scenes of real parents discussing how they think they’re doing, with their views changing following surprising, heartfelt letters written by their children proving the actual amazing job they’re doing. Using the hashtag #doingood, Minute Maid openly explored the trials parents are facing and took a stand for them and with them. The brand also incorporated a digital hub for a variety of resourceful content, from parenting stories shared by real parents, user-generated content from the campaign, product information and reviews, and its blog, The Good Minute.

Brand messaging catches the attention of Millennial parents when it reflects a true understanding of what they deal with on a daily basis. When combined with honest, useful advice for how to simplify their lives, it will succeed in actually resonating with them. Brands that do this will obtain a place in Millennial parents’ inner-circle, effectively competing against a multitude of other products and services in a narrow space and earning brand loyalty.

To learn more, make sure and check out our Millennial Parenthood Brief here!

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.