Brand Stewards Face A New Family Dynamic – Millennial Parents


By, Allison O’Keefe Wright – EVP, Managing Director of Research & Strategy at Open Mind Strategy

Marketing to the New Family Dynamic

– Millennial Parents 

Millennials are now raising children. Forty percent are parents or 33 million people. Brands need to understand the millennial parenting style and how it is shaping the next generation.

Key themes of the new family dynamic

We’re in this together, but sometimes separately. To understand millennial parents, we must step back and understand millennials outside of parenting.

When you grow up as the boss of your family and now it’s your household, you’re not willing to give that up. But you want to show your child the same respect shown you by your parents, which has created a new dynamic we’re in this life together.

Rising concerns about separate togetherness make digital natives anti-digital parents. Sixty-two percent of millennial parents worry about the time their child spends on devices; 63 percent say they’d rather their kid watched TV.

deep need for togetherness content. They know first-hand the dangers of digital addiction since they themselves are addicted. Millennial parents see TV as the good screen, but they don’t love the content.

Millennial parents are crowdsourcing experts. Google is the new grandparent.

They become experts on subject matter related to kids and share it. And over-index versus peers without children.

Facebook brings generations together. They show off to their parents, grandparents, and friends. Their generation is living life designed for display with new rites of passage created by social networked living, i.e., the first day of school is time to break out the poster you bought on Etsy and update the fact that your kid wants to be a champion swimmer.

Millennial parents have unhealthy personal expectations. They’re very competitive and obsess over minor details. Forty-four percent are overwhelmed with parenting information.

Not surprising this generation of parents is at the center of the anxiety economy. Fifty-two percent of millennial parents recently bought something to contribute to self-care. More than 80 percent hoped for a wellness or self-care-related gift last holiday.

The most popular toys, fidget spinners, slime or squooshies, offer stress relief; a sign that the anxiety economy has impacted children’s lives.

Millennial parents want customized info from peers they trust. They see themselves as experts. Brands need to provide opportunities to share their voice because they have strong opinions.

Dads are a major force in parenting. Dads do more at home, shifting the family dynamic. Twelve percent say they share parenting responsibilities, 40 percent say they share but mom pretty much does everything.

In this atmosphere, mom needs an escape. Millennials are the trophy generation, but mom asks, where is my trophy? Millennial moms are alpha girls who need the acknowledgment that they’ll get it all done and be super fun. Marketers need to give mom the tools to express herself and manage her worries about digital disconnection. Brands need to help her disconnect, to escape while remembering she’s fun.

Millennials were the first generation where more girls graduated college. Beta guys always let girls take the lead, but they know they’re doing better than their dads.

Two in three millennial dads think dad characters in kids shows are presented as idiots. Two of three think mom characters appear smart.

Dads want content that reflects their reality. He thinks he looks like he’s dropping the ball. Content producers should show him as the dad he wants to be. Celebrate dads fun side; help him become a true partner.

About the Author

Allison O’Keefe Wright is an expert in consumer culture and media. She has spent her career studying consumers and consulting major brands on strategy and positioning, product development, marketing and communication geared at various demographic groups and the elusive millennial target in particular.


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