As Mother’s Day in Australia approaches, Rachael Sullivan - 3rdspace UK’s Strategy Director and mother of one toddler, Felix - ponders the complexities of modern motherhood and how marketers can create content that better connects with mums today.

Motherhood is arguably the most significant life transition many women go through, making it a conundrum for brands and marketers as this life transition inevitably brings about a change in values, hopes, fear actions and behaviour.

According to the Mom Complex, three out of four mums still say companies have no idea what it’s like being a mum. Yet the reward for those who get it right is significant with mothers reportedly controlling 85% of household purchases and having a collective spending power of $2.4 trillion.

So why is marketing to mums so complex? And what is it that many brands are missing?

Firstly, it sounds obvious but it’s something too easily forgotten – people are individuals, not labels“There is a danger in focusing on the fact that people are mums. Being a mother is fundamental, but it isn’t the defining thing about you” says Justine Roberts, Mumsnet.

Motherhood comes in many different forms. On the surface of it there are new mums, stay at home mums, working mums, single mums, mums to kids with special needs, rural mums, urban mums, two-mum families, mums of many, mums of one, expecting mums, mums to teenagers, foster mums, adopted mums, absent mums and bereaved mums. Scratch a little deeper and you’ll find a minefield of mum personas – hands-on mums, competitive mums, perfectionists mums, socially conscious mums, eco-conscious mums, freeform mums, fit mums, easy going mums, working mums and mum entrepreneurs. But it’s key to understand that in any given week she may be ALL of these things.

Mums tend not to like being defined as being a mum. The modern mum is (hopefully) feeling less pressure to fit into one category and more freedom to give herself permission to have a life and ambitions outside of being a mum. And that could be as simple as a side hustle or a full-blown ambition to climb Mount Everest. And herein lies the issue for content marketers: millennial mums don’t want to be defined purely as being mums. In fact, most women don’t tend to like to be referred to as ‘mum’ by anyone other than their close family and children.

The purpose of parenthood has changed. For most Australians today, the decision to have a child is deliberate and purposeful. As such, parents today give far more thought to how they might bring up their children in a world where there is more conflicting information than ever before. Anxiety has become the cornerstone of contemporary parenting. Yet overwhelmingly, millennial parents have more intimate and equal relationships with their children than in the past. According to Forbes, parents today spend 2x more time with their kids than previous generations. What once was deemed an action entirely for procreation, parenthood is now a source of meaning and happiness in life.

How can content better relate to mums?

 

1.      Don’t talk to mums how you’d talk to your mum. Mums are complex, so steer well clear of generalizing them. It’s important to research not only their behaviours but their feelings, opinions, fears and aspirations. Content marketing shouldn’t reflect the key differences - instead it’s important to find the space of shared values and celebrate your brand’s niche connection with a smaller group of like-minded consumers.

 

2.      Mother’s Day is not the time to focus on marketing to mothers. Most mums are only interested in hearing from their kids and partners on Mother’s Day. Mummy friendly content creators know this. The benefit of content marketing and social media is that it allows for a deeper connection to form with mums who are connecting with a certain mindset at different times. Influencers can be a great way of identifying with certain mums. Australia blogger Constance Hall has a huge following of “disciples” that identify themselves more boho/freeform mums, engage with provocative posting style, buy her products and fiercely defend her when criticised. Understanding how your content should live within Constance’s space as opposed to say, Carrie Bickmore’s is extremely important.

 

3.      Brands that are trusted by mums (and dads) don’t tell their customers they understand them, they show them and include them. Brands like Tommy Tippee’s ‘The boob life’ campaign, found a place of shared purpose to create content with meaning that resonates beyond stereotypes. In a global campaign they were able to demonstrate that they understood, saw and appreciated that just like every child, every mum is different, she’s real and proud of it.Which brands do you think do the best job of marketing to mothers? What would you like to see more of? If you’d like help with finding the place of shared purpose between your brand and your customers to provoke action, please get in touch.

And a happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there. And to our absent mums and babies who didn’t make it here, you are forever in our hearts.3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about developing a tone of voice guide for your brand to better connect with your consumers, our team of marketing & content strategists, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. Contact rob@3rdspace.com.au

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

Download our Free Content With Purpose Handbook

In past blogs we’ve explored how COVID has handed CMOs and brand marketers a rare opportunity to reset purpose statements. Re-stating purpose for a new world, and having your content live your purpose, will go a long way to forging connection with an audience, with purpose and social good becoming even more central to customer perception.

That said, if your tone of voice still sounds like 2019, your purpose might not have the support it needs.

Tone of voice needs a re-jig too

The words you choose, their formality or not, how short or long your sentence constructions are, the way your string them together grammatically - these all communicate something about what your brand stands for. They need to align with your purpose and “speak” to your customers and prospects, if you want to connect emotionally.

Here are 4 tonal things to check as you tread a confident path through 2021:

1.Do you still know your audience/s?

Attitudes and behaviours have changed since 2020 and vary across geographies. People are working differently, they think differently about spending and how they pay for things; some are more cautious, some are more optimistic.

Employees have new expectations of their employers especially around safety; citizens have new-found trust in institutions they’ve seen acting in their interests.

Some values may have become more important as a result of the pandemic, evident in the trend towards self improvement.

So do you know who your customers are and what matters to them in 2021? If not, now’s the time to find out, whether through your sales team’s conversations with customers, through audience research and surveys, or monitoring your social media and customer service interactions.

If you need inspiration for tone, check what content is popular for your audience, whether that’s on LinkedIn or Tiktok.

2.Does your tone of voice document reflect those customers?

Look at your tone of voice styleguide and check if it still rings true for the audience you’ve identified.

Should there perhaps be a more comforting tone in areas where there is still doubt and anxiety for your customers? Should you emphasis hope, in a time of economic recovery? Should you dial down the more strident persuasive sales talk? What does your audience need right now? What are they going to need in six months?

(And if you don’t have a tone of voice guide, it might be time to write one. Get in touch, we can help.)

3.Have you differentiated yourself?

No matter whether you’re a consumer brand aimed at teenage skaters or a global consultancy seeking C-suite eyeballs, you won’t be memorable in the mind of your audience if you sound like all your competitors.

Look at that tone of voice styleguide. Could it just as easily apply to most of your competitors? How could you tweak it so it’s unique, yet still true to your purpose? How do you bring more humanity and personality into your voice, so you’re remembered for all the right reasons?

4.Have you re-examined all your touchpoints?

COVID taught us all how to conduct vast chunks of our lives online, with apps, Zoom and bots now a fact of life. In 2020, we jumped ahead five years in consumer and business digital adoption in about 8 weeks and consumers have far greater expectations for brands’ digital capabilities. This acceleration of digitalisation brings so much potential for user journeys to be seamless.

But fast design and implementation sometimes means cutting corners. Check all those digital innovations you introduced so quickly during 2020 and check how they sound. Is there consistency across channels in language, tone, terminology?

Only if you express the same tone in every instance, can you build that familiarity, that persona that people recognise and come to trust.

While it doesn’t make sense to change your tone of voice for every crisis or economic hiccup, it doesn’t hurt to dig back into your purpose and decide how that is best served by the personality and syntax you’re using, at this moment in time.

rob@3rdspace.com.au

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about developing a tone of voice guide for your brand to better connect with your consumers  our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

Download our Free Content With Purpose Handbook

To differentiate and elevate your content marketing, it’s a good idea to shake up your thinking every now and again – bust some myths - especially when it comes to thought leadership.

Myth #1: You can never have too many white papers

Often if a brand is developing a significant piece of thought leadership, the belief is the end result should always be a giant white paper.

The truth is, with more content generated last year than in the history of mankind – unless your potential customer is a superfan of the topic, it will be a tough job persuading them to deep dive into thousands of words.

Our experience in quality thought leadership has shown that developing bite-sized highlights and promoting those on the appropriate channels will gain a lot more traction and provoke a lot more click-through action, than a monster discussion paper.

Myth #2: Pumping out static, formulaic social posts is enough

A lot of brands resort to one trick on their socials – usually a static image with posting copy.

Such assets have a role to play but we’ve found using bite-sized blog highlights and quotes - and most importantly, highly-dynamic video to highlight what the thought leadership is about, gains a lot more engagement and also helps elevate the brand.

Myth #3: Inhouse experts talking on camera automatically engage

“Let’s do a video in the office to highlight our thought leadership,” say a lot of people all the time.

This is usually a missed opportunity. Creative execution and quality production can boost this kind of content dramatically.

This video 3rdspace created for the EY CEO Imperative research launch does feature an expert talking to camera – but we’ve shot it in a dramatic location that fits the brand, we’ve stylised the look and feel, and added in dynamic graphics to tell the story. You can see from the first few seconds how that makes it instantly more engaging.

Myth #4: All we need to do is tell them what we have learnt and what we think

True through leadership starts a dynamic conversation and utilises innovative ways of having that conversation so your audience is encouraged to explore the content further.

3rdspace use a mix of technical backends to do this – from LinkedIn Live streams where the audience can ask questions and comment in real time, to webinars that stream out of social channels with questions on all platforms being aggregated to the speakers, to a hybrid virtual event that allows for Q&A – but also break-out rooms. See NEC Immersion for examples.

Myth 5: Thought leadership can be disconnected from your values and people

The greatest way to raise the profile of your brand is to prove how you are adding value to society and telling the story in a dynamic way that makes people think, at the same time, showing (not telling) what your business does and featuring your people.

3rdspace worked with our client NEC, The National Gallery of Victoria and acclaimed digital artist Refik Anadol, to highlight what can be achieved when you combine humans with technology. The resulting video highlights the process that Refik goes through and how he uses big data and a giant canvas provided by NEC to create immersive art.

The art is visually dynamic but the story of his process is the bit that makes you stop and think – inspiring you to find out more.

What other myths can we help you bust? We’d love to chat.

rob@3rdspace.com.au

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

Download our Free Content With Purpose Handbook

3rdspace Senior Writer Susan Burchill and Kathrine Holland give you their picks for the best cause related marketing campaigns of recent years and how to genuinely convey your cause with your audience.

Supporting causes can be an extremely effective way to connect authentically with like-minded consumers, support your employees’ personal values and create good will in your community. But causes need to be intrinsically tied to the core purpose of your brand to hit their full potential.

Hero-ing your causes

Cause-related marketing is a way for brands to tie themselves to causes, charities or social issues through thoughtful, sensitive campaigns that support, not boast. 

With the rise of Millennials and Gen Zs, where a company puts its community dollars can be a real differentiator. March 2021 research from Nielsen Consumer & Media View found that  70% of Australian women aged 18-39 think highly of companies that support charity and are 12% more loyal to brands that support a worthy cause. Similarly, a US study of millennials found that 70% are prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about - even if that means paying more for a product.

Done well, a cause-related campaign can create a sense of connection between a brand and its audience, leading to deeper customer loyalty. But it must align with brand values and purpose first and foremost. Purpose must be the guiding light for where you invest your cause-related efforts to ensure they’re not “just cause”. For established brands, this may involve re-examining your purpose; or where your purpose is not yet fully defined, it may require you to put time and thought into that exercise. 

Here are our three favourite campaigns that get it right.

Uber - Thank You For Not Riding

With people across the globe in quarantine during the height of the pandemic and struggling to understand their new normal, we saw an influx of content on social media showing how people were entertaining themselves. 

In a move that could be considered counteractive to their business model, UBER created a powerful piece of content that brought together user-generated content with beautifully shot images of solitude, sadness and togetherness to encourage their customers to “stay-at-home for the people who can’t”. The cause here was the greater good of humanity.

For a lot of us, 2021 brings with it fresh hope; but one viewing of this piece will have you awash with memories of the confusion we all felt during lockdown.

Patagonia - Don’t Buy This Jacket 

At the heart of Patagonia’s brand is their belief that all life on earth is under threat of extinction. According to their mission statement:

“We aim to use the resources we have—our business, our investments, our voice and our imaginations—to do something about it.”

Patagonia’s recent “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign, much like Uber’s COVID efforts, encouraged consumers to stop and think before purchasing their product, speaking to the socially responsible heart of their consumer. The simple and clever creative encouraged their customers to reuse, recycle or regift before making new purchases - ironically resulting in an uplift in Patagonia’s sales. 

The campaign was ostensibly saying “Don't Buy This Jacket”, but what it actually communicated was, “if you only buy one jacket, make it this one”

Patagonia Don't Buy This Jacket

Dove - Real Beauty

One of the pioneers of self-love and acceptance in the beauty industry is Dove. 

While beauty brands have traditionally preyed on women’s insecurities and their desire to be seen as beautiful, Dove has broken the mould for over 15 years by creating socially-driven campaigns under the banner of Real Beauty. 

Their 2016 viral success, the Dove Evolution video, is a great example. It took the viewer behind the scenes of a typical photo editing process for a beauty brand, showing what’s really involved in creating those “beautiful” cosmetics images. Their cause is loud and clear: women need to love themselves just the way they are.

And the proof is in the numbers. Sales for Dove jumped from $2.5 to $4 billion in the campaign’s first ten years.

3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. Contact rob@3rdspace.com.au

Looking for more inspiration? Check out more blogs here

Download our Free Content With Purpose Handbook

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